Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Stop Victim Blaming

It was back in 2014 that I started to write about rape culture here on my blog. Those who have read my books, though they are works of fiction, know there is that element in there as well. The subject isn't something I can ever escape really because of my life experiences. It has been a part of me since I was first assaulted when I was 19 and those that have happened since then.

Currently you can't turn on the news or open social media without seeing a new sexual assault/harassment/misconduct coming to light. Though Hollywood has been the highlights as of late, these situations happen in every walk of life. Rape culture is alive and well in all these and victim blaming goes hand in hand with it.

There have been many phrases thrown out lately about some of these women saying "what did they expect," "why didn't they report it back then" "they're just looking for money" "well they didn't implicitly say no." This goes along with different accounts and variations of stories from women from all walks of life. What sickens me the most is the bulk of people that are victim blaming ARE WOMEN.

The #metoo movement has sought to give a voice to these women and yet others out there are shutting them down. The insecurity and anxiety that comes along with harassment or assault is already heightened and spewing this victim blaming nonsense. This is why women don't report because they start to question whether or not their situations were "severe enough" or whether they "imagined it" or "they shouldn't have put themselves in that position so they deserved it."

I know this because all those things are what made me not report my assault back then. I wish more than anything I could go back and shake that 19 year old girl and tell her not to listen to those around her. Even to this day when I disclose my past experience (since I've gotten to a place in my life where I'm comfortable doing so) one of the first questions I get asked is "why didn't you report it?"

"Because I thought it was my fault."

Those words will forever echo in my brain. I think about other young women in these situations who are questioning things as well. Like I stated above, they see these stories everywhere now and I hope that they will see them and come forward. But when they see the victim blaming going on along with it, it may cause them to not come forward.

So if you take nothing else away from this post, it's to think before you speak. Think before you type. Think before you post. What you may be spewing could affect those in a good or bad way depending on what you chose. This is not a partisan problem it is a HUMAN problem.