Dangerous Innocence

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Every time I would contemplate leaving my abusive partner the first question that would come to my mind was “what will everyone think of me?” And it wasn’t simply that they would think I didn’t try hard enough, but that they would blame me for the failure of my relationship.  It was an irrational fear, most of my close friends and family could see past his charm and knew there was more going on than I admitted. But a fear none the less, and one that kept me from leaving multiple times.

Society is chomping at the bit to throw the blame on anyone that finds themselves in a threatening situation. Women are blamed for their rape because they were dressed too provocatively, or were giving off the wrong signals, or were too drunk to say no. Women and men are blamed for their physical abuse because they were being too strong-willed, or used the wrong tone of voice, or didn’t do as they were told. Children are blamed for their abuse because they were misbehaving, or didn’t clean their room, or didn’t follow the rules. The point is the victim is usually the first to be scrutinized, and this is why so many rape and domestic violence cases go unreported every year. Victim’s fear being blamed for their torture, and fear having to relive it with every statement they make to try and gain justice.

Why are we so quick to think that the victim asked to be assaulted?  Well, she was wearing such revealing clothing, so she was asking to be raped. Remarks like this are never okay! No one wants to be beaten, raped, or dehumanized. No one deserves to be shamed and made to feel guilty for the illegal acts that someone cruelly subjected them to. Regardless of your social status, financial stature, ethnicity, gender, etc. . .  you are not at fault for the illegal and unspeakable acts done to you.

It seems as though we are quick to blame the victim because no one wants to be held accountable for their actions, but victim blaming is not just about avoiding accountability. It’s also about avoiding vulnerability. The more innocent a victim, the more threatening they are. They threaten our sense that the world is a safe and moral place, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. But when good people fall victim to vicious acts, it implies that no one is safe and we are all vulnerable. The idea that misfortune can be random, striking anyone at any time, is a terrifying thought. A thought we are faced with every day. Therefore, blaming the victim makes us feel that they must have played a part in the tragedy that befell them. Giving us a little more sense of security in our own well being.

It has to stop. Everyone must realize that a victim is just that, a victim that will suffer mental trauma for the rest of their life due to the unforeseen circumstances that happened to them. No one asks for it. No one deserves it. No one. Stop blaming the victim and hold abusers accountable.

~Christa G.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Dangerous Innocence

  1. A perpetrator will always look for an excuse. A bystander will always try and find a reason which does not unsettle their view of the world that unexpected violence could fall upon them.
    This women dressing provocatively ‘thing’ is another cheap excuse.
    Assume this- a lean muscular fellow is sauntering alone in nothing more than shorts and trainers. If a car pulled up and he was dragged off by four other males who ‘had their way with him’ (as the old saying goes), would people say he deserved it because he was pressed provocatively?
    Good and courageous post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Woebegone but Hopeful,
      You make a very good point. I don’t believe the young man would be criticized for his choice of clothing. It’s unfortunate how most of the world can be so quick to judge women based on appearance. While men are also victims of rape, assault, and domestic violence, the majority of victim shaming is aimed at women. Thank you for taking the time to read and for sharing your insightful thoughts.
      ~Christa G.

      Liked by 1 person

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