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5 Instances of Victim-Blaming That Will Make You Want to Scream

5 Instances of Victim-Blaming That Will Make You Want to Scream

She shouldn’t have worn such a short skirt!

She shouldn’t have been drinking!

She shouldn’t have led him on!

Why is it that whenever a woman is raped people are so quick to blame the victim? What did she do wrong? What could she have done differently?

Worse than blaming the victim, people are also quick to question whether or not a rape actually occurred. Was she really raped? Is she exaggerating?

When rape victims aren’t being blamed or questioned for what people think may or may not have happened, they are often the butt of insensitive jokes that make light of a very serious issue that affects way too many women.

So what’s worse? Blaming the victim? Questioning the victim? Or using the victim as a punch line?

Take a look at the following five examples below and decide for yourself.

1. She Liked It

“Some girls like to be raped.” (Yes you read that correctly).

Such was the response of Israeli Judge Nissim Yeshaya in an appeal court ruling on the gang rape of a 13-year-old girl by four Palestinian boys.

Following the expected uproar after such remarks, the court released a statement saying the judge’s comments “were not intended to hurt or disrespect rape victims” and that he apologizes for his comment.

Saying that a girl enjoys rape is not only hurtful and disrespectful, but also offensive and ignorant. Let’s not confuse sex and rape. They are two completely separate things. You can and should enjoy sex. Rape is done against a person’s will and not something that is enjoyed. Do we really need to explain the difference? An apology is far from enough and luckily the judge has since resigned from his post.

Miriam Schler, director of the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center, which received more than 40,000 reports of sexual assaults from women last year, said the following about the incident:

It’s outrageous these people are supposed to deciding the fate of these women and they don’t have the faintest idea of what it means to be a victim of sexual assault. Women don’t trust the system. These incidents (the judge’s remarks) give them even less reason to trust it.

With comments like Judge Yeshaya’s it’s no surprise that of the 40,000 reports of sexual assault, fewer than 20 percent were filed as a claim.

2. She Drank Too Much

In the first quarter of 2013, the number of rape cases in Hong Kong have increased a startling 60 percent. In response to this dramatic increase Hong Kong Security Secretary said the following:

Some of these cases…involved the victims being raped after drinking quite a lot of alcohol. So I would appeal that young ladies should not drink too much.

There it is ladies. For your safety you should abstain from drinking alcohol because that’s the reason so many women are getting raped.

I mean really? The Security Secretary had the gall to say that after a 60% increase in the number of reported cases. That’s ridiculous and extremely representative of the victim-blaming that happens all too often.

3. Blame It On The Alcohol

Over here in the United States, blaming rape victims for their alcohol use is also a common practice. Take for example the Missoula Montana Police Department which has been noted for mistreating victims on numerous occasions.

A woman who reported being gang raped was told by police that it was “probably just a drunken night and a mistake.”

Another woman who reported her rape and the fact that she said “no” on numerous occasions and fought back against her assailant was told the assault was “mostly voluntary fueled by alcohol.”

In both instances women were made to feel guilty, when in fact they should have received compassion or at the very least respect.

An intensive year-long investigation from the U.S. Justice Department has found that police practice discourages victims from cooperating with law enforcement.  According to the DOJ letter regarding Missoula, ”investigative weaknesses appear due, at least in part, to stereotypes and misinformation about women and victims of sexual assault.”

The police department has begun to reform the way they handle rape cases in order to better serve victims and advocate on their behalf. Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, however, has refused to cooperate with federal investigators, saying his office did nothing wrong and that the feds have no authority over their actions.

4. It Wasn’t Rape

Did you know “rape isn’t always rape” if the victim is say drunk, with a boyfriend or led the man on?

Such were comments made by former Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross who made the following metaphor about rape:

We would laugh at a bank that stored sacks of cash by the front door. We would be aghast if an airport badly skimped on its security…our forebears would be baffled that girls are mostly unescorted, stay out late, often get profoundly drunk and sometimes openly kiss, grope or go to bed with one-night stands.

It’s no surprise women are getting raped! How dare they go out without an escort, stay out late, kiss, grope or have sex with anyone for that matter!

Sadly, this isn’t a joke (and if it were it wouldn’t be funny). Ross now studies crimes and has concluded that women are often to blame for their rapes and shouldn’t report them if they feel responsible:

What if she feels partly responsible for what happened? What if she realises there is no evidence other than her word against his? What if her life is bound up with that of her assailant? What if she feels humiliated as well as violated?

Truth is often there is no other evidence beyond ‘he said she said’ because women are too afraid to report, especially because they don’t want to get blamed. The rapist is also often wrapped up in the victims life because more often than not they know each other. And lastly, feeling humiliated and violated are normal reactions to getting raped.

Does all this mean a woman should suffer in silence and not seek justice?

I think not!

5. Rape is Funny

The most recent example of rape being used to get a laugh happened earlier this week at Microsoft’s E3 press conference when a man, one of the producers of a game, and a woman were demonstrating a new fighting game.

As the man and woman battled, with the man clearly dominating the game, he said, “Just let it happen, it’ll be over soon,” followed later by, “Wow you like those.” Take a look for yourself.

To some this might not have seemed like a big deal at all, which I would argue is part of the larger problem of joking about rape in the first place. These jokes are so ingrained in our culture that many don’t think twice when they hear thinly-veiled attempts such as this one.

Additionally, when those of us point out that these jokes aren’t cool and actually pretty offensive, they are inundated with insults. We are so sensitive. We have no sense of humor. We can’t take a joke. Well, sorry but I’m not sorry that I don’t find these jokes funny in the least and won’t stop pointing out how messed up they are.

I am baffled by the fact that people continue to blame victims after they are raped and I won’t stop talking about it until it becomes a rarity.

Have you come across any victim-blaming stories that make you want to scream? Please share in the comments below!

 

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Photo by Claus Rebler used under a Creative Commons license.

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145 comments

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3:56PM PST on Feb 23, 2014

This is so freaking stupid.

7:57PM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

Kathy P. - I don't know what to say except that it is very brave of you to share your story. Also, screw those second guessing your actions. You did what you needed to do and, most importantly, you survived.

3:00PM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

Sadly in August of last year I was carjacked and sexually assaulted before being dumped in my trunk and left with my car for hours. It was the most excruciatingly terrifying night of my life. I knew I was going to die. I was on my way to work, saw a man waving his arms. It was 1130 at night, and I thought perhaps the man needed help. I stopped. He had a gun. It was a nightmare. By the time I was able to break the latch of my trunk it was 130 am, I ran half nude in the dark through the woods, trying to find a house. I had no idea where I was. I ran onto a porch and banged and sobbed and begged for them to call my mother, the police, anyone. The police took me to the hospital, did a rape kit, printed the car, and got my statement. 3 weeks later they called me back in to pick up my phone. They started with questions, and what I thought was to be a conclusion was in fact an interrogation. They had little to nothing to go on they said, and why hadn't I run? Why hadn't I tried to scream for help or grab the gun? Why didn't I try to fight the two large men off? Why did I stop to begin with? It was all about how EVERY CHOICE I MADE was the wrong one, as if I didn't already feel responsible. As if I didn't already feel stupid and ashamed and filthy. Now I know that I did my best to come out alive, and in that I succeeded. The system needs SERIOUS work

5:43AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

I'm even too scared to comment. Of course rape is rape but a lot of woman won't report it because they are the ones who will be dragged through the mud while the attacker sits back and laughs.

12:42PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Everyone has the right to say no!

9:18PM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

@ Nikki J. we all can do whatever we want....get drunk, be irresponsible,
but remember there are guys doing the same

9:14PM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

Women need to protect themselves, be aware and smart, stay with your girls, protect each other and learn to trust your self.

10:29AM PDT on Jun 22, 2013

Thank you Ximena, for Sharing this!

7:37PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

comments be fascinating.and so true.rape is not sex! it is a crime of control and violence.and to the charming one who suggested the rapist should be raped in return (in the back).naw!1 he should have to have it the same way i'm sure his victim did.staring right at his puratrator.and for my last little gem,how do these guys be allowed to go out by themselves,when they are obviously to stupid to know what a small two letter word means NO means NO !!! oh just had an other thought.you don't want to casterate those creatures.they'll think it's fine cause they still have some balls.what you want to have done is total removal of both C and B and they all you have for them is a cathier long and limp hanging out so that every time they have to pee,they'll be reminded of the discusting deed they did.

4:02AM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

It is fair that we all have the right to do what makes us happy so long as no one else is harmed. Therefore anyone, regardless of gender has the right to get as ridiculously drunk as they want, wear any type of clothing they want regardless of stereotypes but this does not give others whether drunk or not to harm the drunk person - we should all be able to live comfortably with good people around us who will make sure we are happy.

Unfortunately there are some right idiots in the world, generally in the minority but getting more and more publicity, who spoil it. Awareness is good but perhaps keeping awareness local will prevent idiots from sharing/ spreading their harmful activities.

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Thanks for reposting, I missed it the first time around

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