When I was in high school, my purse was stolen from my place of employment. I had tucked it away in a locker in a private room for employees only. I didn’t have a lock, but I figured I could trust people. Boy, was I incorrect.
After my shift, I came back to find the purse was gone. Someone took out my cell phone, keys, and driver’s license and left them in the locker, but my purse, along with some money (not much) and my brand new pack of gum was nowhere to be found.
I know people are reading this right now and thinking “Well, you didn’t lock it up, what did you expect?” or “You are so lucky someone didn’t run off with your phone. And that they left your keys behind.”
So, because someone I worked with and likely interacted with on a daily basis, rummaged through my personal property, picked out what they wanted and didn’t want, I should be thankful? This is what it means to be “lucky”?
This brings me to my main point. It seems to be a trend these days to blame the victim. And it’s disturbing.
Imagine a scenario 1,000 times worse than getting your purse stolen, and you have the Steubenville rape case that has recently made headlines. A 17 year old and a 16 year old boy are charged with rape after pictures and videos surfaced of them taking advantage of a girl who was drunk and passed out at a party.
As if that experience wasn’t horrible enough for the victim, she then received death threats from a girl who basically accused her of ruining the lives of these 2 young men.
Too often we hear about how drunk the victim was, how awful it is that these 2 boys will have this on their record for the rest of their lives, and how promising their future was.
It’s almost as if some people actually believe that because the victim was drunk and could not say no, that somehow makes it OK to do whatever you want. It’s both sad and disturbing.
What may be as equally as disturbing is the fact that instead of support, the victim is receiving hate and threats from another girl.
We as women should stick together, and build each other up. By threatening this girl, it only sends a message that she is in the wrong and that what happened with the boys was an unfortunate mistake. But it wasn’t. They chose to do something terrible, and now they will have to pay the price. They are in charge of their own destiny, and their decisions led them to where they are. If their “promising futures” have been destroyed, it is of their own doing, not an innocent girl who may have had too much to drink.
How often do we hear about men who cheat on their wives or girlfriends, and instead of dumping him, the two women spend their time competing over someone who treated them terribly. It’s no wonder that so many girls and women call to question their self-worth. Don’t even get me started on how a woman’s ability to please a man is glorified today on T.V. and in music. As if pleasing a man is what determines if you are a successful, attractive woman.
The bottom line is that absolutely nothing excuses rape. Next time you feel the urge to say “Well, what was she wearing?” or “Maybe she was asking for it” or “She shouldn’t have had so much to drink”, stop yourself. And remember who is the real victim and who deserves the blame.