What You Are Doing Is Victim Blaming
I just think it’s important that we acknowledge the role women play in these instances. That doesn’t make me a woman hater. I don’t think there is anything inherently right or wrong with this statement. It is victim blaming though.
One reason people blame a victim is to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. By labeling or accusing the victim, others can see the victim as different from themselves. People reassure themselves by thinking, “Because I am not like her, because I do not do that, this would never happen to me.”
Validating abuser’s logic by masking it as “personal responsibility” is victim blaming. “If only she wouldn’t act this way, I wouldn’t have to get violent.” “She knows just the buttons to push that make me fly off the handle.” “Why do you make me do this?” Legitimizing abuser’s logic silences victims because it’s harder to come out and get help if you think you’re going to be blamed for what’s happened to you.
“Game of Thrones” director Alex Graves argued that rape can become “consensual by the end”. Conservative columnist George Will thinks that the rates of sexual violence on college campuses have been grossly exaggerated because sexual assault is now a “coveted status” that confers victims with “privileges.” These aren’t exceptions, but norms in patriarchal society.
In the wake of Stephen A. Smith’s comments concerning Ray Rice’s domestic violence case, and the sheer number of defenders of what he is saying, I think it’s important to highlight that it’s all apart of the same patriarchy. That somehow, whoever the victim was, she contributed to or wanted her demise.
Unfortunately, enough people in this country think that Janay Rice did something to provoke Ray Rice into knocking her out, dragging her off an elevator, and kicking her to see if she regained consciousness. A grand jury classifying this as aggravated felony assault is nullified for they were “both at fault.”
What I’m Doing
I for one plan on challenging every victim blaming statement when I hear it. I have already incurred the wrath of doing this on social media which actually prompted me to write this.
I will not agree with abuser’s excuses for why they abuse. In Ray Rice’s case, being spit or hit by his 100 pound wife does not warrant putting all of the force of his 220 pound frame into a punch knocking her out cold, dragging her off an elevator, and kicking her to see if she regained consciousness.
I will hold any abuser accountable for their actions. In Ray Rice’s case, I will never buy any products he endorses and he will be heartily booed whether his play is good or bad. As a Ravens fan, that is how I will hold him accountable for his actions. I don’t condone knocking women out, dragging them onto elevators, and kicking them to see if they regained consciousness.
I will also acknowledge and respect the opinions of domestic violence survivors and professionals. Through their great experience and knowledge, I have learned that there are conflicting opinions on “provocation” both within the confines of the relationship and as a form of domestic violence itself.
Women are not guilty for violence committed by men on their body, mind and spirit. This violence happens because of men’s greater power and their misuse of that power. While we live in a power based society, might does not make right.