Victim Blaming: The act of insinuating that the victim of a crime is at fault for the crime. This is seen extremely often in rape cases. The victim is blamed for their own rape. In other words, society may accuse them of wearing “suggestive clothes”, drinking “excessively or irresponsibly”, giving “suggestive eye contact”, or acting “suggestively”, claiming that the victim caused the rape to happen because of “poor decisions” or “irresponsible/slutty behavior”.
Victim Shaming: When victim blaming goes a step further. Outside of blaming a victim for the crime committed against them, people may begin to bully the victim for the crime. They may call the victim derogatory names, threaten them for coming forward, gang up on them on the internet, slander them, attack them verbally and physically, and taunt them endlessly.
Both victim blaming and victim shaming seem to be a current trend in our society. I’m not sure if these situations are just now coming to light in the masses, or if it was always going on. Something tells me it’s been happening for a very long time.
When I was sitting in the police cruiser on the night of my attack the police were grilling me to tell them about what happened and draw up a formal charge. I told them that I did not want to press any charges, and that I just wanted to go home. They acted like they had no idea why I would not want to press charges, but I quickly enlightened them (keep in mind this was much before the Jane Doe, Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd, and other related cases came into the light). I told them that I knew what people would say of me, that they would call me a slut, say I was asking for it, and I would just be the slut in the green dress. They tried to assure me that no one would think that about me, and though I knew that what they were saying was not true, I reluctantly gave my statement and spent the longest 2 hours of my life waiting in the police cruiser.
The police pretty much shamed me for not wanting to come forward, but I think people can see why at this point in time. Jane Doe and Rehtaeh Parsons endured endless bullying from their peers and society. The process of reporting is traumatic enough without rape culture being at a height and extremely public. The police tried to convince me by saying, “Don’t you want to stop him from doing this to anyone else?” If you say anything other than yes you look like a monster, and if you say yes you are damned for life for reporting. No wonder barely any women want to report. People always like to look down on women for not reporting, but I fully understand why they do not want to.
I want to change this society, but I can’t do it alone. We all have to work together to beat it.
A story on a man who hid behind a uniform of what should have signified safety rather than horror:
These people are dangerous. Especially when put into any position with power and prestige. They are predators. They hide behind uniforms. They violate every position you should be able to trust – they want your trust. This is why it is so despicable. These men become police, pastors, join the army, become teachers or coaches. Like hawks they loom. Rape culture will protect them. They build up their appearances to the community in order to invalidate any claims someone may make against them. The media may protect them, build them up, sympathize with them. These men are manipulative predators putting on a fake face and false sense of security. Many times they will build up a sense of trust within select victims and strike when the victim is most vulnerable. Is it possible they seek out a specific type of person? A personality type? Can they sense what someone has gone through in their past? I believe that they can read people. They can determine if someone has been a victim. They can read you if you let them. They can tell just by looking at you if you have given in to that victim mentality. Yet this is no reason for women to live in fear. Always tell yourself you are strong. Believe it, exude it. You ARE strong. You are not a victim, you are a survivor. Though that can sound cheesy, it is true. You made it through whatever you have been through in life and you can show the world who you really are-that you can truly prevail through anything. Be free.