When you read the title of this, I’m sure you thought: No kidding, isn’t it 2016?
Yet, despite the decent majority of us thinking that, victim blaming continues to permeate our culture and our internet in small and big ways every single day. What is it about our modern culture that decides to look at someone who has suffered at the hands of someone else and immediately wants them to have failed in some way? Is it because if the victim failed in some tangible way, we can feel safe because we would never do that?
A woman is raped and she is told that she dressed too provocatively and that she should have “kept her knees together.” We would never do that.
A kid is bullied and people accuse him of not carrying the right kind of backpack. We would never let our child do that.
A gay couple is beaten up because they dared to kiss each other in public. We would never do that.
A teenage girl is raped by several boys because she made the mistake of going to a Halloween party. We would never do that.
Domestic abuse survivors are questioned on why they stayed with their abusers. We would never do that.
A college woman is assaulted, raped, and left behind a dumpster because she drank too much alcohol. We would never do that.
Donald Trump says that his daughter “wouldn’t allow herself to sexually harassed in the workplace.” We would never do that.
And it goes on and on and on.
It’s bullshit that it’s been shown that victims don’t report violent crimes almost half the time because they are embarrassed, afraid, or frustrated with the system.
It’s bullshit to blame the victim and let the rapist/abuser/bully/molester/assaulter walk away blameless because we don’t want to “ruin their futures.”
Sorry, bad people, but fuck your futures.
The internet is a powerful place, and I truly believe that most of the people out there are good people. I think that sometimes the jerks are those who speak the loudest, but I know that there are quiet, good people out there, too. As the quiet, decent majority, I think we need to start standing up and yelling a bit more and maybe change the dialogue one story at a time.
A woman is raped because there was a man who raped her.
A kid is bullied because the bully has not been taught how to be a decent human being.
A gay couple is beaten up because an intolerant, scared human is probably struggling with his own sexuality.
A teenage girl was raped by several boys because those boys are rapists and they should spend years of their life in prison.
A domestic abuse survivor is abused because there is a person who abuses them.
A college woman is assaulted because a man assaulted her, and he should pay for that crime.
And Donald Trump’s daughter has just as much of a chance of being sexually assaulted in the workplace as any other woman out there.
It’s our responsibility as parents and as humans to change the narrative of the stories and take the focus off of what the victim did wrong and put it on what the perpetrator did wrong. Maybe then, more victims will come forward because they know that they can trust the system to actually help them. And then maybe some swimmer in some college in the future will think twice about raping an unconscious woman if he thinks that he will have to pay with years of his life for doing so.
It’s up to us to create a better, safer world for our children to walk into — so start shouting.