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Please, can we stop victim blaming?

Let me explain why...

By Deborah RobinsonPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Please, can we stop victim blaming?
Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

A Memory

I was about 15 years old when a friend confided in me that an adult male, in a position of trust, had made inappropriate advances towards her; but when she told her mother, instead of reassuring her, and promising to address the incident, she said to her daughter, 'And what did you do to encourage him?'

My friend quickly realised that she couldn't depend on her mum to protect her, or to even be on her side. My friend was the victim, and yet she was made to feel like the guilty one. She was left traumatised, probably because her feelings weren't acknowledged or validated. And I do wonder if that incident caused her to learn to keep her feelings in. We lost touch, sadly, but I also remember her as being someone who seemed quite sad inside, and extremely conscious of what others thought of her. I wonder why...

It's All Too Common.

Alarmingly 'victim blaming' is something we've all gotten quite used to. You might recognise some of these statements, and perhaps you've either used them yourself, or been at the receiving end:

'She shouldn't have gone out dressed like that!'

'Had he been drinking?'

'But look at his criminal record. They had to be physical with him. He could've been dangerous!'

'She seems to attract the wrong men.'

Why is it, that when someone has been brutally attacked, murdered, mistreated or let down, quite often we look at how the victim 'brought it on themselves'? Why can't we see these crimes for what they are? Why do we look at the victim and pass judgement on their behaviour? Why do we blame the woman who was attacked on her evening run for running out of view of the public, when the fault lies solely with the perpetrator, who incidentally, of course knew right from wrong?!

That girl who couldn't get a taxi, and who risked walking home alone, did not bring it on herself when she was attacked. The person who did it is completely to blame!

And the man who suffered verbal and physical abuse at the hands of his partner couldn't 'have just walked away.' It's not that easy, is it?

And the young girl who was raped by a sports star wasn't to blame at all! She was drunk and unconscious, and whether or not she was half-dressed or naked, she never got the chance to say 'no.' And whether he's good-looking or not, does not make it ok, either.


So, let me ask you: have you ever, just for a moment, read an article, or seen a news report about a girl, a woman, a boy, a man who was the victim of assault, murder, coercion; and have you ever, just for a moment thought, 'He shouldn't have let himself get so drunk. That's what happens.' Or, 'She must be giving off vibes to attract the wrong sort of men.' I'm sure we all have, if we're completely honest. And it's not surprising, really, because we live in a world in which victims are constantly blamed for wearing the wrong clothes, being in the wrong place, giving the wrong impression...

But we need to change our mindset, don't we? Because think back to my friend. That was not her fault. And she shouldn't have been made to feel like it was her fault. And it's not the fault, either, of the girl who chose to wear a short skirt that night, or the fault of the man whose partner hits him because she feels insecure.

So, the next time you go to blame the jogger who ran along a quiet tow-path, for running alone, or the protester who was kneeled on by a police officer for too long, maybe just think again.


About the Creator

Deborah Robinson

I'm new to the 'writing for real' scene. Previously, I've kept my poetry and writing under wraps in a fancy notebook, but now I've decided to give it a proper go!

I hope you enjoy my work.

Thanks, Deborah.

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    Deborah RobinsonWritten by Deborah Robinson

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