The suicide of a 20-year-old rape victim in Britain illustrates why I and so many others speak out against all forms of victim blaming -- even the victim blaming that is done in the name of rape prevention or efforts to prevent girls and women from binge drinking.
From the BBC:
Harriet McCormick, from Radyr, Cardiff, was "vivacious and happy" until she was attacked in a car park, her mother told an inquest. But she developed depression and twice took overdoses before jumping off a footbridge onto the M4 motorway. After the coroner said the death was a "direct consequence" of the rape Cheryl McCormick urged victims to speak out.
McCormick didn't report being raped because she wrongly blamed herself. Those who see her self-blame as a completely internal issue which could be solved by teaching girls and women to have better self-esteem so they have the resilience to survive rape have it dead wrong.
All the victim blaming McCormick saw and heard before she was attacked was like swallowing a live grenade with the pin still attached. The rapist committed a crime but the rape itself also pulled the pin on all that dormant victim blaming. This is no lucky accident for rapists.
Smart rapists know that most people will question a rape victim who had a social interaction with the rapist -- even if that interaction only lasted a few minutes in a public place -- about whether the victim sent "mixed" signals.
Girls and women are falsely given the blame for this "confusion" since so many of them are willing to consider saying yes. This means that rapists aren't the cause of most rapes promiscuous girls and women are. That twisted thinking is enough to drive the happiest woman to the brink if she doesn't understand what is happening inside her and why.
So-called mixed signals is one of the biggest lies out there. This lie gives cover to the majority of rapists and puts the responsibility for the rapist's crime onto the victim. Anything and everything becomes a signal of consent and women who want to be out and about must communicate explicitly that they are not in fact consenting. A woman merely talking to a man who later turns out to be a rapist is often described as someone who in a positive state of consent.
Think about the defense attorneys who talk about alleged rape victims who didn't clearly communicate their lack of consent through screaming and trying to scratch the rapist's eyes out. The default is that the rape victim is to blame for rape and the rapist gets a free pass. The rapist must do something besides rape which repulses the victim blamers to have the blame shift from victim to perpetrator. Cutting or shooting his victim for example.
Rape itself is not all that bothersome for many of the victim blamers. It is the just punishment given to women who don't behave and dress modestly enough. We see this whenever someone says, "What did she expect?"
This wrongful blame is something that gets dismissed by many people as simply asking girls and women to take sensible cautions when it is no such thing. And those who object because this victim blaming contributes to the very thing women are warned against get labeled with nasty descriptors such as feminazi. It's very odd, and telling, to read someone use harsher words about those who are fighting sexual violence than they use about those who rape.
Victim blaming as crime prevention is proven to be a lie when it is not used in violent crimes committed equally against men. Hey, men who have been mugged send us your horror stories so we can warn other men against going out on the town. And where are those who trumpet "innocent until proven guilty" or "men lie about being mugged"?
Would we ever expect to see someone write, "Yes, I know that some people do get mugged, but I'm not interested in them. I am interested in all those falsely accused of being muggers." and would those people who so easily dismiss a whole group of crime victims be cheered as objective seekers of the truth?
Labels: Violence Against Women