Women who blame survivors of rape have always confounded me. As rape is most often a crime perpetrated against women, you would think that it would be something that we would be more supportive of. And as the statistics of rape against women are so high, again, you would think it would be something that we women as a whole would empathize with. So when I encounter women who blame the victim in cases of rape I have always scratched my head and wondered why. How is it that there are a few amongst us that continue to point the finger at the victim rather than the criminal?
How could a woman, a human being who knows what a violation this would be, how deeply scarring to the victims psyche, and how overpowered they were, possibly even think to say it must have been what the victim wore? How could they say it was what the victim said/ate/drove/went/did? They know damn well that with rape it is one person totally overpowering another human being and it doesn’t matter where you are, when you are there, what you are wearing, or any number of trivial details, if that person wants to over-power their victim they will. Rape is not about clothing, or timing, it is about someone violating another human being. I’m not saying men aren’t out there blaming the victim too. It disgusts me. Men who blame the victim disgust me, but seeing how this is a crime that is so often perpetrated against women it horrifies me to the absolute core that a fellow woman could blame another woman.
And here’s the thing, it isn’t just repulsive, disgusting women, who are amoral who have blamed the victim. A good friend of mine said to me when I was in high school, “There is no such thing as rape. You either end up agreeing or you die. There is no rape. If it happened, she ended up letting him do it.” This was not an awful, bitchy, nasty, vapid, friend, this was actually a good friend, one of the sweetest people I know. So if she could come out with that statement then there must be a reason why there is this notion that women are ultimately to blame for rape. Why does Rape Culture run so deep in not just our society but all over the world?
Well, today, 17 years later, I finally have a reason. Rape terrifies women. It is something that is so prevalent in our existence that it is not something that can simply be ignored. In certain areas the statistics are as high as 50%. Not all areas, but some are that high. And nowhere, and I mean nowhere, are the statistics so low that they can be ignored. This terrifies us, because we know we could be a victim. The numbers are not on our side that everybody we know will escape unscathed. Either us, or one of our daughters, cousins, sisters, or friends will be raped. Someone close to home will be violated in a most horrific manner. We know this. We try to put it aside, but we know this and it sickens and terrifies us. Different people have different ways of dealing with fear. Some get sad, some, get hysterical, some get angry, some get cold and clinical. There are a myriad of ways of dealing with fear. Unfortunately, some women deal with fear in a Oh hell no that isn’t happening to me, it could never happen to me, it must be that person’s fault, they can’t be blameless, because if they are blameless then that really could happen to me, I refuse to believe it could happen to me, I am sticking my fingers in my ears and blaming the victims and refusing to face my fear, kind of way. It’s not nice, it’s not helpful, and it only serves to make a woman who has been violated feel guilty and ashamed. Victims are going through enough, you should feel ashamed to try to put more heart ache at their feet. Scared or not, you should feel ashamed.
I hope as a society we can come together and stop blaming victims of crime. If you forgot to lock your car door, that does not give someone the right to take what is yours; if you accidentally left your phone at a checkout, that does not give the checkout assistant the right to steal your phone; if you walk down the street, that does not give someone the right to slit your throat; if you wear red lipstick, that does not give someone the right to rape you; if you trust someone, that does not give them the right to violate you. If you haven’t heard it from someone else, it is not your fault. You are only responsible for the negative actions that you commit, you are not responsible for the ugly things other people do to you. Stay strong, be kind, be the better person, because unfortunately, society as a whole isn’t ready to be better yet. I am truly sorry. And I am truly sorry for the ugly accusations that my fellow women have laid at your feet. They were scared. I hope they get better.
NOTE: I would like to state that rape happens to men and boys too but by and large it is a crime against women. I am not neglecting other victims in my thoughts, I am not even remotely stating they should be blamed and just women shouldn’t. This blog would be far too long for me to write if I were to detail the whole existence and history of rape. I also do not have the time or skill to do thorough enough research on this matter, the topic is too large, and far too sensitive to be left in my clumsy hands. All I can do is shine a light on this one epiphany that I had today and hope it brings greater understanding to someone. Sexual violence is a hideous thing that has been used as a means of torture, destruction and demoralisation throughout human history. I am utterly disgusted by it in every format. It is not the fault of the victim, it is the fault of the criminal.
And as the poster shared widely from http://www.thisisnotaninvitationtorapeme.co.uk/ says:
Top Tips to End Rape:
- Don’t put drugs in a person’s drink.
- When someone is walking by themselves, leave them alone.
- If you pull over to help someone whose car has broken down, don’t rape them.
- Never creep into a person’s home through an unlocked door or window or spring out from between cars and rape them.
- If you are in a lift and someone gets in, don’t rape them.
- Use the BUDDY SYSTEM, if you are not able to control yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you’re in public to stop you.
- Don’t have sex with someone who is asleep or unconscious. That’s rape.
- Carry a whistle, if you are worried that you might assault someone, blow on it until someone comes to stop you.
- Remember honesty is the best policy. If you are going to have sex with someone who you are dating regardless of how they feel about it, let them know up front. That way they can run in the opposite direction and never see you again.
- Don’t rape anyone.