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A Be-All, End-All Argument To End Victim Blaming

We're done here.

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It’s starting to feel like every morning I wake up to a new notification on my phone that some power-hungry Hollywood creep has been exposed for sexual harassment/sexual assault/rape, etc. The sheer volume of men and women that have been affected by this makes me sick, but it’s a bittersweet sick feeling. I’m glad we’re finally exposing them. We’re finally airing out the dirty laundry. We’re getting angry, and I think it’s working to make society aware of the magnitude of the issue. As I scroll through Twitter, however, I am stunned to still see huge amounts of victim blaming.

Why did you wait so many years to say anything?
What was a 14-year-old doing at an adult party?
I can’t believe you would just ruin House of Cards for attention.

Some lovely tidbits from the Anthony Rapp/Kevin Spacey allegations.

More “Hollywood elites” looking for their 15 minutes of fame.
These women knew what they were signing up for. I don’t feel any sympathy.
So they let him assault them and then they starred in his movies and still got rich?

Things I saw post-Harvey Weinstein exposé.

Why are we like this? It’s upsetting, but not shocking.

I’m a feminist in the by-the-book definition of the word. I think men and women should be equal socially, economically, and politically. I do not hate men by any means. I have to say this so people in the comments don’t go “great, another Feminazi”, which by the way, I think is like the worst nickname ever. Are you seriously equating feminists with Nazis? Literal NAZIS? Y’all, that is not cool. That’s another tangent, though.

Anyway, when the #MeToo hashtag popped up on Twitter a few weeks ago, it really was empowering to see women coming together to let the world know the magnitude of the problem. It was late Sunday night, I couldn’t sleep, and I was scrolling through the tweets when I came across one from user @AlWilson725 (he has since blocked me, because that’s how mature men handle intelligent women in 2017) stating “When women signal that they are sexually available, men will pay attention. How about no sex before marriage? 90% of problem gone. #MeToo”.

My own screenshot.

My initial reaction was anger. I became furious. How could this man Alan be living so far in the past, so deep in misogyny, he could not see ANY PROBLEM with what he posted? I wanted to leave it alone. He was a lost cause. The survivor in me, though, decided he needed an educational session. I was awake until 3 in the morning trying to get Alan to see the error of his ways. He didn’t budge. His claim that women who don’t wait until marriage to have sex are to blame for being raped. I genuinely wanted to cry. It made me physically nauseated that this man so fervently believed he was correct. This pain, this anger, is why I am writing this. I want to end victim blaming, once and for all. I know that’s a rather large task to take on for one small person, but I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t try.

Here are some simple reasons why you shouldn’t victim blame. If you still don’t understand and feel the need to get on Twitter and ruin someone’s day, you are truly a lost cause and should do a full re-evaluation of all your moral and ethical values.

•Victim blaming benefits no one. Why go out of your way to make someone who’s clearly been through a trauma feel significantly worse?

•The majority of women are not lying. According to a study by Stanford University, only about 2% of rape claims are proven false. The women who do falsely claim rape are abhorrent people with no regard for the consequences of their actions, and we know that. We do not condone their actions.

•You are actively seeking to harm another human being, many of whom are already hurting, badly.

•Blaming the victim is supporting the rapist. You might not say it directly, but that’s what you’re doing. Saying it’s ok to rape a woman because she probably asked for it.

•That’s another one: NO ONE IS ASKING FOR IT. You will never hear someone say, “Gee I’m gonna drink so much that I hopefully get raped tonight. Fingers crossed!”

•Suggesting to women that they “shouldn’t have drank so much”, “shouldn’t have dressed so provocatively”, “shouldn’t have let that guy buy you a drink” if they didn’t want to be raped is the most disgusting, misogynistic, outdated argument I can think of. And when men get assaulted, what do you say to them? They didn’t want it either. Why do you think so few people report? Because of comments like this. Do you know whose fault it is when someone gets raped? The rapist. Done. End of story.

•And Alan, this one is for you: Blaming women for having sex lives implies that men shouldn’t have them either! Amazing how that works. Next time you suggest we all become virgin nuns so rapists won’t rape us, maybe suggest that the rapists wait til marriage too. I’m sure they’ll be quick to comply, you complete and total moron.

You might be wondering where this anger is coming from. Well, to start, we should all be angry. Men and women. My intense anger comes from a specific place, though. I’m a survivor. When I was 18, I was brutally raped by a guy I went to college with. It ruined me. And I had to sit idly by while one of my best friends accused me of lying, and testified on my rapist’s behalf because “he had more to lose if he was convicted”, if you can believe that. That destroyed me. And even worse, when this so-called best friend tried to apologize to me and said that “he was sorry I got hurt”, he clarified that he would still do it again. I told him to never speak to me for the rest of my life. This was someone I used to spend every day with. That’s the impact victim blaming has.

Victim blaming also makes you feel completely worthless. It makes you doubt your own sanity. It makes you feel like everything was your fault. It’s been almost 4 and a half years since I was raped. I spent 3 and a half of those years in such a miserable depression I still find myself amazed that I lived through it. I’m not talking about occasionally being sad. I’m talking about being so deeply depressed I stopped talking to my friends, stopped going to my classes, staying up all night only to sleep all day. I was barely showering, never got more dressed up than gym clothes and a sweatshirt, but never went to the gym, ate like shit, and couldn’t see a week into the future because I didn’t know if I would make it that far. This depression came to a head when I finally tried to kill myself a little over a year ago and was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward. It was the scariest experience of my life and I can tell you now that One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is not entirely fictitious.

I don’t enjoy sharing this part of me with the world. I would prefer everyone know me and make their judgments about me for who I am up front, than feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me because I’ve experience a trauma. If you know me, I ask now that you don’t let this information change how you treat me. But, if me sharing my experience with victim blaming can convince one person to change their mind on the subject, then I’m happy to do so. I ask one thing of anyone reading this article: Support the survivors in your life. Men and women, it’s on you to come to their defense when others try to tear them down. And let’s get rid of this “as a father of daughters” bullshit. Women are human beings. You don’t have to be a dad to understand that. Your silence is just a way to show you don’t care enough to speak up. It makes you complicit. Jump in. Be an ally. Never let a victim take the blame, and together maybe we can end this once and for all.

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