WARNING: I am talking about a pretty mature topic; I'll be keeping it clean, of course, but there is an image showing what some mean kids said on Twitter and there are some curse words in that picture. This is a PG-13 post.
I know many of you might find this topic uncomfortable. I know I do. But it needs to be said.
Victim Blaming has been prevalent for centuries and while I'd known about it for a while, I didn't really start thinking about it until last week when I began hearing news and reading articles regarding the Stuebnville case. And I was horrified by what I saw and heard. I hadn't believed in rape culture completely, not wanting to, but after all the horrible behavior I've seen, I have to agree, it's real and is a definite problem.
Victim Blaming first came to my attention when, after reading posts regarding the trial, I began to link it up with an issue I had written about a few weeks ago, and, really, it's quite disturbing how similar they are. So many people (almost) always blame the the victims, whether it's in fiction or in real life. I've seen people say that the Jedi deserved to be slaughtered in Order 66 and, comparing it to the real-life event of the Stuebenville, I am beginning to see a pattern. People(not everyone, of course, but a disturbing amount of the world), for some reason think that the victim somehow 'provoked' the violence done against them. They don't want to believe that maybe it wasn't the victim's fault- that, instead, the evil behavior came from the perpetrator themselves.
If you followed the case, you most likely know what happened, but if you didn't, I'll go through a brief description. Basically the kids were at a party and, yes, there was drinking. The girl(Jane Doe, though I do know her first name since the stupid news stations revealed it which you AREN'T supposed to, I won't reveal it) drank a few drinks, though apparently it wasn't enough to make her pass out like she did, so most likely she was drugged. After she passed out, the boys decided to 'play around' with her (a million gags) They did several terrible things to her, kept carrying her to different houses, made a video which they posted on YouTube, and took pictures, which they sent around the to all the other kids in the high school. And through it all, no one called the police when they knew what was happening.
Thankfully, the girl was brave enough to bring the two boys to trial. After several days, with people testifying for both sides, those two monstrous, sick, things were found guilty and sentenced to juvenile hall until they are twenty-one (though it could be just one year too much sucks) and will probably have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.
And, were people happy that these two evil things were brought to justice? Did people give their sympathy to the girl for her terrible ordeal and congratulate her on being brave enough to bring them to trial? Did the media lift up the victim and reveal the two boys for what they really are-monsters?
Sickeningly, that is not what happened. The girl has continually been vilified by the media and citizens of our country, and has even been slut slammed and shamed by people in her own home town (even her friends).
Horrifyingly, the media has painted the predators as the victims, lamenting their lost dreams of football players and scholarships, and focusing on how they cried at being sentenced (which was way too light) at the end of their trial, and some news stations even revealed her name which you are never supposed to do when it comes to a minor (since she was sixteen :( Poor girl, she's younger than me). One thing I find really sick about all of this is, if the two boys had been geeks or loners instead of star athletes on the oh-so wonderful football team, the media would most likely not have been on their side. The fact that people believe athletes should be able to get off Scot-free for everything is just plain SICK (and of course, not all athletes are bad; most are actually fine, it just seems like sports-related people get off easy).
She has even been sent death threats and called a slut/whore (see below) because she turned the boys in and because of what happened to her. Luckily, the police are at her house and she's safe.
And, sadly, I have come to realize that, unlike me, many people in the world don't see rape as an evil sin(the second most evil one after genocide). People see it has a silly thing, and say that she was provocatively dressed, that the girl had it coming, she was asking for it, she's just a slut, she wasn't actually raped, she wanted it, she didn't say no(since she was unconscious), that boys will be boys, and that 'men can't control themselves' . And if the victim is a male(and it does happen probably just as often and is dealt by both men and women), the excuses are the same, except most people wont believe it.
I really think this attitude stems from the way people view women and rape. I've been aware of this for quite some time now(several years in fact), and I'm finding out that it isn't just a select few people who think this way- high school students have this opinion, adults, teachers, politicians, media personnel, etc. My sister has told me that kids her age and younger were making fun of rape(and a lot of it was coming for girls), many politicians have tried to 'redefine' what rape is', writers romanticize abuse, and even adults just use the word or situation as a joke, like laughing at a girl being tied up and such(I had to get onto some people on Facebook about this once; thankfully, they weren't rude and I think I taught them something, actually). All of this reminds me of a conversation I had a long time ago at an activity I was doing; one that I remember vividly.
Girl: Hey, did you here the joke ____ made? (sort of explains the joke that I'd already heard which I won't reveal since it's gross)
Me: You shouldn't joke about that, it isn't funny.
Girl: (very casually): Oh, so did it happen to you?
Me: No, but you still shouldn't joke about it.
(oh my gosh, you seriously don't ask that is such a casual manner!)
This conversation horrified me when I heard it for the first time and now that I put it up to all the things I've been seeing and hearing since the Stuebenville incident, I'm beginning to find it pretty scary. Because if people are willing to joke about such an evil, evil thing, then people are willing to sit by and laugh about it when it's actually happening instead of calling the police or stepping in and saying this is wrong. Parents need to be educating their children about this, telling their sons and daughters that it's wrong, that it's inexcusable, and that this NEEDS to STOP! It's not a joke, it's not 'just fun', it's a scary, evil thing that will leave the victim scarred for the rest of their lives. The victim is the one whose life is ruined, not the rapists- the rapists DESERVE the punishment they received.
Because only 3 % of rapists go to jail for their crimes. Only 3! Do you know how wrong that is?. It should be 100 % and they should get life sentences.
Because a person should be able to want to go out at 3:00 A.M. and walk down an alley without being scared, or wear something they like without having to worry about being jumped by a gang of psychos.
But, some people might say, Jane Doe was drinking at the party, or that other girl, she was wearing a short skirt or a low-neckline, she shouldn't have been doing that.
Well, guess what, it happens to people wearing Burkas, so revealing clothes has nothing to do with it- it has to do with a sickness in the brain, a lack of empathy/sympathy, the degrading of the person, and of course, power. And really, while I might be a modest dresser, people should be able to wear whatever they want(though, I do have to admit, extremely short shorts that make you like you're not wearing pants do look dumb but...they still have the right to wear that).
And should the girl have been drinking? Well, NONE of those kids should have been drinking since they were underage, but a woman/girl should be able to get drunk and not have to worry about anyone hurting her because of it.
And the real question you should be asking is, where were the parents? Why wasn't this reported immediately? WHY ARE PEOPLE HATING ON THIS POOR GIRL?
There is obviously a problem in this world regarding Rape Culture and it's horrible that it STILL exists in the twenty-first century when we should be passed this already. Now is the time to address this issue- parents need to teach their children to not objectify women and see them as human beings; because we are human beings, and we are tired of excuses. We are not subordinate, we are not dependent, we are equal.
So, instead of asking women(and men) to reform to keep themselves from being attacked, why don't we all just do this vv.
(most of this was taken by - http://drkathleenyoung.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/how-to-prevent-rape/, though I did add a few things).
All of this goes for guys too, since rape/abuse towards men to happens, whether it be from a man or a woman.
And while I do believe it's a good thing to do things to prevent yourself from getting in that situation(take martial arts or a self-defense class, don't go anywhere alone at night, don't get in a car with someone you don't know, don't let anyone get a drink or food for you, you probably should stay sober, etc), it really shouldn't be a victim's responsibility, it should be the one thinking about it.
People deserve to be safe, people deserve love- especially victims and people hurting.
For those of you who are religious- is this what your God would want? If you aren't religious, what does your moral compass tell you?
For other Christians like me - is that what Jesus would want you to do? Blame the victim? I think NOT. You are supposed to help others, you are supposed to show compassion, you are supposed to love your neighbor as yourself. You are to help the poor and look after the destitute, to protect those who can't protect themselves. How many lives could be saved from ruin if someone had stepped in and said "No, you can't do that" or called the police? Because guess what? Boys will be boys and men can't control themselves is not an excuse.
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"
(Matthew 25.35-40 ESV)
(Matthew 25.35-40 ESV)
If your religion teaches love, then you know what you should do. You should love the victims and give them all the sympathy they so richly deserve after all they have went through. Because, what if that had been you? Or your mother/sister/friend/father/brother/wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend? Would you want everyone blaming them for something that wasn't there fault?
Victim blaming is wrong. Victim blaming is immoral. Victim blaming is something from the decrepit past.
And quite frankly, I am SICK AND TIRED of this. It needs to end, and to make it end we are going to have to work together and fight this war against oppression for all people. Because we are all human beings in the end and we all deserve the same rights and privileges as everyone else. We can win this war if we all work together, we can end this and make the world safe for us all.
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE! Calling all Jedi, Slayers, warriors, etc! :D
(I tried finding gifs of Padme and Leia but I couldn't find any good ones).
And yeah, my geekiness shows XD.
Though, those two boys deserved LIFE SENTENCES! They will probably get only a year :P. Oh well, at least justice was served, I was worried they were going to bet off free. Glad their pathetic dreams have been smashed beyond recognition. So, go cry you little losers, you deserve what you got- have fun in juvenile hall, I hope you get a taste of your own medicine(and no one will EVER want you when you get out).
And to Jane Doe, I pray that you will be able to make it through this horrifying experience. You are not to blame. We love you and are here for you.
May the Force be with you.
Ways to help stop rape(if you are seeing it about to happen)
Call the Police; it's easy, go outside or to the bathroom and call 911. You will get in trouble but you'll have saved a life.
Get a group of people together and say "No, you aren't doing this"; remember, they're are strength in numbers and if there is more of you then of them, they will most likely back down.
Stop objectifying women; I think once this happens, things will get better.
I know this is a serious subject matter but it's important since it's happening, in colleges, in homes, at work, and in alleys.
So, let us all stand with Jane Doe and other people like her and tell them that we're here for them.