When it comes to this blog, I often have a hard time when it comes to creating new posts. This is not because I have nothing to say; that’s just ridiculous. It’s that there are SO many things that I feel like I could write about when it comes to the overwhelming field that is gender and sexuality studies. Sometimes when I think of all of the things I have learned, and all of the potential things I will learn in grad school, my brain gets overwhelmed and starts to leak out of my ears. It is a very serious condition.
Anyways, tonight I thought we could take a look at victim blaming. This is a term that I have brought up in previous posts, and I think that it is an important topic. I’ve learned a lot about victim blaming from my undergraduate education, and it is something that I think anyone can benefit from knowing a little bit more about it.
Victim blaming is pretty much what it sounds like; holding a victim entirely or partially responsible for any sort of accident, abuse, or crime committed against them. Despite such a simple definition, the issue is a much more complicated issue.
I’m on this topic because a friend posted a link on Pinterest that was basically a “Through the Rapist’s Eyes” article which discussed the many different things women can do to not get raped. The piece lists tips like:
“The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun , braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets”
What the..what ?! Okay. I mean, I guess this tip makes some sense….but is still super depressing and annoying to think about.
It is annoying to think about because this is the reality of what it means to be a woman.
A couple years ago I attended a presentation by Rus Funk who is probably one best speakers and male feminists you’ll ever know. Learn more about him here.
Anyways, at this presentation, Mr.Funk (so cool) asked the women in the audience what they do to help prevent rape. The women in the audience raised their hands with their comments, and he began writing down a list. The list grew, and grew as women explained all of the various things they do to help keep them from getting raped. Mr.Funk then asked the men what they do to help prevent them from being raped. A guy from the audience raised his hand, and jokingly said “Stay out of prison”.
The point of this exercise was to show how restricted women’s movements really are. Women are constantly aware of the fact that they could be raped. Pretty much anytime, almost anywhere. Men do not have this fear, or awareness.
For me, all of this goes back to victim blaming because it seems that when a woman is raped, people ask what pre-cautions she didn’t take that could have helped her from getting raped.
“She was jogging at night? She should’ve known better!”
“She was drunk. She shouldn’t have drank so much at that party if she didn’t want to get raped!”
Blah-blah—bullshit. It is NEVER a victim’s fault for being raped or assaulted in any way.
Many people seem to think that they are using “common sense” when in actuality they are blaming the victim.
“Well, it just makes sense that you shouldn’t drink too much because it leaves you vulnerable to rape.”
No. This message is not ‘common sense’—it is victim blaming, people! This statement is saying that if you drink, and get raped, well…too bad.
If someone were to mug you on the street, people would not say, “Well maybe you shouldn’t have been wearing that coat”, or “Maybe you shouldn’t have been outside at that time of the night”. Because that would not be ‘common sense’.
To conclude this lovely post/rant, I thought I would share with you a pretty neat image a friend posted on Facebook. It sums up victim blaming pretty well, and with pictures!