A few years ago, my place of work was robbed at gunpoint. My story is a lucky one where the robbers left with nothing and we were all safe. In the routine questioning, the police asked us how the robbers got in, as this took place hours after our usual closing time. We explained that we had extended hours that weekend, so the robbers were able to walk in right during working hours. Would you like to know what happened then? The cops took what we said as fact and moved on with their questions. They didn’t repeatedly ask us why the doors were unlocked, trying to change the words to confuse our stories. They didn’t tell us we shouldn’t have had extended hours for our busy time of the year. They in no way blamed us, the victims of a traumatic situation.
So why do we insist on doing this to rape victims?
Why do we ask what were they wearing? Why do we ask if they have a history of promiscuity? Why is everyone and every past situation more to blame than the person who actually did the raping? It’s well beyond past time to stop blaming the victim and blaming the rapist, the same way we blame the drunk driver, the child abuser, the murderer, the robber.
Unfortunately, periodically, a big case hits the media where people are mourning the ruined future of a rapist for being caught in their actions, making sure to use nice pictures of the attacker and explain all of their successes to further prove how wonderful they really were.
This disgusting excuse for media portrayal is damaging enough to the victims in all of these cases, but it goes so far beyond that. This is detrimental to all victims.
Recently, a friend of mine found out that her worst nightmare had happened while visiting an old friend. He had sexually assaulted her, a fact she didn’t even remember until it came back in a flashback a night later.
If the fact that she was betrayed by a friend isn’t enough to make your blood boil, what makes it worse is that I can tell her all day every day that it was in no way her fault, and a majority of herself will agree with that, but thanks to the way our society is, she still feels like she is partially to blame. She drank (the doctor told her it was likely she had been slipped something, given how sick she got). She admitted she found him attractive (and while I hope no one reading this needs to be told, in case you don’t know, thinking someone is pretty/handsome/whatever, it’s not consent for things going beyond that.) These things do not in any way, shape, or form, justify what happened to her. What happens to too many.
And it makes me even more upset that I can’t tell her with confidence that a court system would agree with me. I can’t tell her that her situation wouldn’t turn out just like the Stanford case right now. Because it just takes one judge to think the rapist’s future is more important, more worthy of protecting, than hers.
This has to stop. Now. It should have stopped long before. I saw a hashtag today from an organization, which prompted me to right this, and I stand by it. #itsonus to stop blaming victims, and start blaming rapists. Stop mourning the broken futures of someone who knows the difference in right and wrong and still chooses to rape. And mostly importantly, support the victims. Don’t put them on a trial for the actions of someone else, that affected them. Support them. Get justice for them.
Hello! I'm Lindsey. I'm a writer with a ton of random thoughts bouncing around in my head. So I share them here in hopes that they reach others with these thoughts.