Victim blaming – a necessary evil?

Posted: November 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Victim blaming, the phenomenon that currently sweeps our nation. Apparently, if you get raped, burgled, beaten, car-jacked, assaulted, scammed or any other number of instances, the prevalent idea in western society is to blame the victim. If you get burgled, well it’s your fault for having a house, if you get beaten up, well it’s your fault for walking down the street, if you get raped, well it’s your fault for dressing like a slut. But, hang on a minute. Those first two examples I’ve never actually heard before and, feminists would have you believe, the third is absolutely rampant when it comes to rape cases. But, here’s the kicker, I can honestly say the amount of people I’ve ever heard say something like that to a rape victim is absolutely minimal.

No, this blog isn’t all about rape, it’s about the wider issue of victim blaming, or lack of it, but victim blaming and rape currently go hand in hand. See, feminists hold the monopoly on rape at the moment. They throw the word around like confetti, they make up new ways of being raped (stare rape, telepathic rape, anyone?) and they love reminding everyone how much women are ignored when they are raped. Thing is, like most things with feminists, they only seem to complain when it happens to women. Victim blaming happens everywhere, but it would appear it’s only reprehensible when women are the victims.

A couple of months ago, Youtube user 6oodfella posted this video:

http://youtu.be/ZLhvWT-B-j0

It’s a pretty comprehensive look at the idea and culture of victim blaming and, while I’m not trying to steal his thunder, I do want to touch upon some stories that show just how much of a mess the notion of victim blaming is and how it’s not always as clear cut as some would believe.

I could post an absolute ton of pictures that prove ‘victim blaming’ does happen, but 6oodfella already did a good enough job, so if you want to see how prevalent victim blaming is then go and watch the video.

What I do want to talk about is the idea of ‘victim blaming’ as a concept. The whole notion of blaming the victim is something that shouldn’t be considered, but let’s take a look at what is actually meant when we ‘blame’ the ‘victim’. The definition I found online that most encapsulates this idea is:

http://definitions.uslegal.com/v/victim-blaming/

Notice how it’s very careful to use the words ‘wholly or partly’ responsible. What that suggests, to me, is that, at some level, nobody is ever responsible for anything that happens to them. It leads me to believe that it’s possible for a person to explain away any accident or occurrence as nothing to do with their decisions, and to label anything otherwise as victim blaming. Victim blaming actually promotes a ‘no responsibility’ culture which, in an ideal world, would be perfect, but we aren’t in an ideal world and personal choices and responsibility still needs to be accountable.

But how responsible do we need to be? When it comes to most aspects of personal safety, it would appear we are held responsible for most things, to some degree anyway, except rape. Now, I’m not saying that people ‘deserve’ to be raped or mugged or beaten or whatever, but why does the concept of victim blaming hold such negative connotations. I think it has something to do with the words.

Victim: someone or something that is harmed by an unpleasant event (such as an illness or accident)

Blame: The state of being responsible for a fault or error

So you see, the two words imply that the person who was ‘harmed’ by something ‘unpleasant’ is actually the one ‘responsible’. The thing is, when people ‘victim blame’ they aren’t suggesting that the victim is entirely responsible for the act, they are trying to understand how the situation happened, what caused the event in the first place and how, if at all, it could have been avoided. The term ‘victim blaming’ is an unfortunate combination of words, but the sentiment that lies behind it is noble and worth exploring.

In the following clip by Bill Burr, skip to 2:10. In this particular clip he’s talking about Domestic Violence, but the same logic can be applied to victim blaming.

http://youtu.be/AlvvCYUDHrQ

Any time you say ‘there’s no reason’ it automatically shuts off the conversation; Bill Burr is 100% correct. And here’s the good part, it doesn’t just apply to domestic violence, it applies to any type of violence or event which leaves a victim. If you automatically take the stance that there was absolutely nothing that could be done, that there was no reason for that situation occurring, you cut off all avenues of future prevention, you cut off all chances of discussion and debate.

Why? To stop the victim feeling guilty, perhaps? I’m not sure, maybe deep down there’s a feeling that someone has suffered enough and doesn’t need the events recounted again and again. I can see the point in that, but on the flipside, the reluctance to put one person through that secondary trauma could indirectly cause untold others to share the initial event. By refusing to talk about preventative measures are we not just perpetuating a crime culture? By not accounting for personal safety do we not let criminals commit crime with near impunity?

Let me get this clear, when I talk about ‘victim blaming’, I talk about the concept of self awareness and self protection, not the idea that the person who was victimised is entirely responsible for what happened to them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think there are some situations that are avoidable if a little bit of common sense is applied. People want equality, they want to be treated like adults, but then they act like children and refuse to hold themselves accountable for their actions.

Having said all that, there are certain campaigns that do actively encourage personal responsibility. You only have to watch 6oodfella’s video to see the myriad of different campaigns promoting the very idea of personal responsibility – don’t leave valuables in sight in your car, don’t leave your doors or windows unlocked, at Christmas don’t leave presents in view of the window. That’s not saying those people deserve to have their cars broken into, or their Christmas presents stolen, but, regardless of how ideal a place you want the world to be, there are some instances where we have to take responsibility.

I don’t want to turn this in to a blog about rape, but it would seem rape, currently, is the only crime we are not allowed to question. I mentioned in my first ever blog the furore around Dr Phil’s tweet asking if it was ok to have sex with a drunken woman. Despite the fact the question actually posed a serious topic that is absolutely ready for interesting, thorough, serious debate the internet blew up and accused him of asking if it was ok to rape a drunken girl. That’s not what he asked, and people know it, but rape hysteria is so rife in our society that any mention of rape and personal responsibility is, as Bill Burr so accurately describes, shut off completely. Not only does this not allow any discourse on the intricacies of the act itself, but it also completely shuts off any discussion on how we can possibly prevent ourselves from getting in to the same situation.

You’ve all seen the feminist slogans – ‘don’t teach women not to get raped, teach men not to rape.’

That is horrendously sexist for two reasons – 1) the assumption that 100% of rapists are men and 100% of victims are female and 2) it absolutely implies that woman are moronic troglodytes who are incapable of looking after themselves. By refusing to enter in to any discussion about rape prevention they perpetuate the two most prevalent rape myths, men can’t help but be rapists, and women can’t leave the house after dark, because apparently that’s the rapist’s favourite time of day!

How many other campaigns advocate ‘don’t teach *insert victim here* not to get *insert event here*, teach *insert criminal here* not to *insert crime here*? Never, there are numerous campaigns out there that advocate safe choices and personal responsibility.

Here are two examples:

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/IMG_2627_zpsbd316891.png

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/IMG_2636_zps414b2f43.png

 

See, the first one is actually telling you to co-operate with the mugger in order to ensure your own safety. Victim blaming much? The second is advising you to keep your house and self safe, and to share the advice with others so they can stay safe as well. Surely the campaigns should be asking people not to mug, and clowns not to enter houses? So why the victim blaming?

One simple reason – it’s common sense to want to keep yourself, your family and your property safe. If someone is that intent on committing a crime, I hardly think a well-intentioned but ultimately misguided advertising campaign focusing on them is going to change their mind too much.

We are constantly bombarded with messages of advice asking us to stay safe, to apply some logic to our surroundings and don’t put ourselves in any situation that may result in a crime being committed. I despise the attitude that some people of that states “I should be able to do *insert horrendously over-exaggerated act here* without the fear of being *insert relative crime here*. The most obvious one being “I should be able to walk down the street naked without the fear of being raped”. Well, in an ideal world that would be absolutely fine, but to apply that amount of deluded naivety and ignorance to the world we live in is not only damaging to your sense of self protection, but damaging to people who are advocating for a level of personal responsibility.

If you walk down the street at midnight in an area that is well known for crime with your iphone out, blaring music, should we wonder why that iphone gets taken off you in a mugging? No, it’s pretty self explanatory, don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re likely to become the victim, don’t allow yourself to fall into a situation where you are not able to protect yourself. If something happens to you and my first question just happens to be one that tries to paint the picture of what lead up to the event, don’t interpret that as me saying it was your fault, interpret that as me wondering how that situation occurred and how I could go about ensuring I don’t fall into the same trap.

So, if other campaigns advocate personal responsibility, logic and common sense (locking doors, keeping valuables out of sight, not walking through rough areas with your phone out) why do the feminists have such a hard time when it comes to rape? I’m not saying people (not just women) deserve to be raped, or that is somehow their fault if they are. Of course it isn’t, rape is the fault of the rapist. What I’m advocating is the self worth of knowing how to protect yourself, how to ensure your sense of protection is not dictated to you by someone who thinks they are doing you a favour. Me telling you you’re a twat for getting so hammered you can’t remember how you got home is not me victim blaming, it is me applying common sense to aid someone who is so obviously without it as to be pathetically underprepared to live in this world.

Victim blaming is the wrong choice of words, I am in no way suggesting it is a person’s fault for being mugged, raped, beaten, etc, what I am saying is that the idealist view of “I should be able to do this…” is just a simple way of trying to do everything you want to do without claiming an iota of personal responsibility. Maybe we just need to change the words?

So, if other campaigns can advocate the, very sensible, idea of taking care of yourself and looking out for others, why do the feminists have such a hard time when it comes to helping people avoid situations in which something nasty or untoward might occur? One simple reason – advocating the idea that there is nothing you can do to protect yourself against violent street crime allows them to play the victim card when someone (yes, generally a woman) falls prey to an unscrupulous societal scumbag. And we all know feminists love playing the victim.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s