There are countless posts that talk about victim blaming, especially to do with rape and sexual abuse. However, in the broader spectrum of things, and in-keeping with current events, I also want to talk about the victim blaming going on in America right now after the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and probably countless others the media does not care to mention.
Victim blaming is not only a ridiculous and oppressive practice, it also allows for people to avoid the consequences of their actions. In today’s society, it appears as if, for certain groups of people, there really are no consequences. Without consequences, without justice, there is and can only be senseless choices.
What else does victim blaming do? Victim blaming teaches young women that it is their fault if someone rapes them. It teaches them it is their fault if they cannot be intimate with another after being raped. It teaches young black men, like Eric Garner and Michael Brown, that if they get murdered by police officers, it was their fault. Victim blaming teaches us that it is never the perpetrators fault. It teaches us that there is always a loophole, some sort of wiggle-room to escape proper punishment, to counteract justice.
In the case of women, victim blaming also teaches us to judge each other. Instead of looking at the traits of the perpetrator, we look at what the girl who has been raped is wearing. We check her profession to see if she is some sort of sex worker, or her marital/relationship status to see if the rape could maybe possibly be passed off as a one night stand gone wrong. Victim blaming perpetuates the idea that women must compete for innocence, for fragility and for purity. It teaches us that it is the person who has undergone crime is more at fault than the person doing crime.
In the case of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, victim blaming takes on a whole new level. It is unthinkable that by blaming these men, two cold blooded murderers continue to live freely among us, yet this is the reality. It disgusts me to an even further degree that Darren Wilson was rewarded his “prize money” of £500,000 for killing Michael Brown. This goes beyond victim blaming, and rests deep, unencumbered, in the sleeping bowels of the American Justice System. I know have only touched the very skin of this issue, but I cannot bring myself to examine the organs of the case because it makes me too angry.
In short, the blaming of a victim is no better or effective a practice then two children pointing fingers in the school yard. However, we place our faith in a justice system that too often frees criminals due to the picking at the faults of the person harmed. When and where did we go so wrong?