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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
RadioSerenade Offline
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Victim Blaming. - December 9th 2015, 10:49 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

I just read an article surrounding the emphatic response to a Tumblr post breaking news that a man has been set on fire after raping a woman's daughter, said woman being the given.... arsonist is the technical word but don't quote me on that. These are some of the responses:

“Well he was asking for it, dressing in flammable clothing.”

“If he didn’t want to get set on fire, he should have stayed indoors.”

“He was probably drinking that night, alcohol makes you susceptible to fire.”

“If it’s a legitimate inferno, the male body has ways to try and shit that whole thing down”

“Why didn’t he stop, drop, and roll? He should have stopped, dropped, and rolled. He must have secretly wanted it.”

“If you read the article, eyewitnesses said the man had purchased a lighter earlier that same day. Dude probably set himself on fire and lied about it.

“He should have relaxed and enjoyed it. After all it was only just a bit of kindling cuddling.”

“We need to start educating people about wearing fire-safe clothing and carrying extinguishers with them at all times. For their own safety.

“It’s his parents fault, they should have educated him more about what sort of fireproof clothing in appropriate for young men like himself.”

It is a very upfront and confronting way of getting across your message but the contributors should be fundamentally congratulated for their means of protest because it is exceptionally successful. Anyway, a friend on Facebook shared it and I commented saying:

I am not too sure if this is a real case. If not, then it is quite a good way of drawing attention to the nature of commentary, which I crucially support. If so, it is a dark reflection on the character of the contributors, regardless of whether the motivation is politically ingenious. Not so much in terms of the respect for the victim, but in terms of what it says about the contributors.

It turns out this was a real case, which is kind of nauseating to think of it. Anyways, this started a broader think about the concept of victim blaming and what people mean when they talk about this sort of stuff.

After the fact, people commenting on the situation flat out condemning the victim, of course, a blight on society and frankly, legal commentary in general. However, after the fact, people reminding women of personal safety and issues of safety in the case of the incident, probably not an issue, but depending on the way it is delivered.

Before the fact, the education of women on personal safety, not a problem whatsoever in my mind. I have heard this commentary condemning society for not teaching men "not to rape". Legal precedent and commonsense, and reactions to cases of rape, determine that men should not rape. Could you imagine a school being asked to teach children the criminality of murder?

That is common sense.

Personal safety, however, is not common sense, it has to be taught, women and men also (in the cases of robbery and serious assault, for example) need to know how to get themselves in a safer position, to prevent the fact before it happens. Probably best summed up by this comment:

Wait, hang on, there is absolutely nothing wrong with what he said. He was not blaming the victim, he is stating that sometimes there is not too much you can do in cases of domestic violence. All he can do in a situation of domestic violence is make an arrest after the fact, which doesn't change the fact.

It was the same with cases of muggings, where people have been mugged late at night. Obviously no one should go out and mug someone, but simultaneously, people should not put themselves in danger by going out alone late at night. Those opinions are not mutually exclusive! Coppers can arrive and make an arrest but it doesn't change the fact.

There was a case of an anti-Islamic extremist who had his home shot at by masked men. Now said masked men are complete idiots and they need to get caught for the safety of the community, but this man has LONG form and could be the target of threats. He should not have put himself in such danger with such dopey actions. This applies to hundreds of cases, there is a shared responsibility to prevent the fact. This is why people are taught the consequences of criminal actions and are dealt with through courts but people are ALSO taught preventative management strategies.

Again, those opinions are NOT mutually exclusive!

What do you think about the concept of victim blaming, is education misconstrued as victim blaming and other such directions?

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Re: Victim Blaming. - December 9th 2015, 12:36 PM

Victim blaming is assigning fault. That should never be done. As for preventing it, I wouldn't call it that. I'd call it surviving it safely or as safely as possible and escaping from danger. Ordinary people should not have the burden of preventing it. That's a heavy burden to place on a person. But teaching self defense? Of course. Not because of prevention, but to simply survive safely. Prevention makes it sound like we have the ability to control others' actions and we don't. Butwe can only try to escape if we are ever in a situation. Also mqmajority of sexual assault a happen usually with someone the victim knows. It is easier to punch a stranger in the guts (im simplifying it, of course it is never easy and theres survivsl guilt later on) and run away but things get blurry with family members and partners/spouses etc. So what prevention could possibly be taken. That's like saying you should have known better. And that's victim blaming. Trust me when I say victims self blame already so no one needs to add distress.

The exception is that if the victim retaliates to the abusive person, I can understand the concept of preventing it. Well you shouldn't have abused that person in the first place. But that doesn't make it correct. When oppressed groups of people get extremely angry to the point of retaliating, I'm not saying it is correct but I can understand where it is coming from. But rape is never okay. And that guy who raped the daughter and got caught on fire is simply facing a natural consequence of his own actions. (Though just to make sure I'm understanding it, the woman wasn't the one who lit him?) Either way, he was the one who perpetrated a horrible crime. I don't think the girl could have prevented it. but he could have not raped her or bring a match withhim for violent purposes. And if the mother lit him up, I'm sure that's a normal human reaction given the circumstances. But he wasn't a victim in the first place so victim blaming does not apply. The consequences are appropriately attrivuted to him because quite frankly, it IS his fault. Other instances you describe are not natural consequences.

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Re: Victim Blaming. - December 10th 2015, 05:16 PM

This is a tricky case. The man raped his seven year old step daughter and his wife (the girl's mother) found out and set him on fire while he was sleeping.

He committed a criminal act and we have a judicial system set in place to punish those who commit crimes. But as a fellow momma, I can tell you I can sympathize with this woman's pain. She married this man, brought him into her home, trusted him with her seven year old child and he raped her. She lost her mind and set him on fire. I think the people in the comments could just sympathize with the situation. That kind of pain can break a person and that sounds like what happened to this woman. It's not a justification for setting someone on fire, but I can see it from her perspective.

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Re: Victim Blaming. - December 11th 2015, 07:20 PM

I am not refering to the case you quoted. I just found it too difficult to wrap what I wanted to say around it and word it right:

If I were crossing a road on a zebra with one-way traffic, and got knocked out by a car racing the wrong way running from the cops...

... who would you blame? Who would you blame, if you knew that I not only didn't look in both directions, but had my ears plugged shut with headphones (couldn't hear the sirens), and was looking down on my smartphone all the time?

Blame... can almost always be assigned to both parties. The only thing to argue over, is how much blame. That's a harsh and very realistic way of looking at it, and in my opinion, the only way of looking at it if you want to truly confront any problem and solve it. Idealistic approaches are too theoretical and too impractical usually.

In the context of rape (obviously this is difficult to talk about so harshy), it also applies. I have nothing against a woman going for a walk, on her own, dressed whichever way she wants to, late at night, through a bad neighborhood. She should be able to do this. Also there shouldn't be "bad neighborhoods", but there always will be, and there will also always be "bad people" out on the prowl looking for people like her. Reality, will be reality. It's in a person's best interest to adapt to it in the right moments, and fight it in the right moments.

If she wants to go walking late at night, on her own (etc.)... take self-defence claases, and should carry a brick in her handbag, tear gas, tasers, lasers and lightsabers. And go kill the assholes. I'm all for it. But if not... and she keeps going out unprepared, alone, shut-out from her surroundings with loud music in her ears and a smartphone screen, etc... something bad will happen eventually. Maybe not the 1st time, or even the 10th time... but eventually yes. And if you knew it was inevitable this would happen, but out of defiance took stupid chances anyway and put yourself at risk... whose fault is it???

Yours, as well as the rapist's.

It is common sense and logic. But the very important word in what I said above, is "knew". If you don't know of an impending disaster, then there is nothing you can do to prevent it, and it is not your fault then. But then also, you have to be pretty naive to "not know" some things.

But some people have a habit of pinning 100% of the blame on the victim for certain crimes no matter what the precise context... which I think is sick and disgusting, and says a lot about people like that and who they sympathise with.


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Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.

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