Are We Done Blaming the Victim Yet?
We’re in 2010. We all know (no matter how much some may deny it) that individuals are responsible for their own actions, that both men and women are fully capable of controlling their sexual urges, and that victims of harmful actions are not responsible.
At least, I thought we all knew that. Apparently not.
After Google Writer Noirin Shirley blogged about being sexually assaulted by Twitter Engineer Florian Leibert, she was met with an onslaught of typical slut-shaming comments. Scrolling through Gawker’s coverage of it, I was met with “well she was wearing a short skirt and was really inebriated, so she needs to take responsibility” and “she just wants attention, that’s why she blogged about it. She deserved it”.
In the words of Amy Poehler and Seth Meyer, REALLY!?!
Really, a woman deserved to be sexually assaulted because she chose to drink a beer? A woman is just asking to be molested if she wears anything less than a full body potato bag? It’s OKAY to jam your hand down someone’s pants just because you want to!?
Shirley herself put it best in her blog,
I’m tired of the fear. I’m tired of people who think I should wear something different. I’m tired of people who think I should avoid having a beer in case my vigilance lapses for a moment[…]It is not my job to avoid getting assaulted. It is everyone else’s job to avoid assaulting me.
Maybe he did go after that particular girl because of her clothes or drinking or what have you, but it doesn’t make it her fault because she wore those clothes or drank alcohol or flirted or maybe God forbid made eye contact with a man. Always, always regardless of outside circumstances, the conscience decision to assault or harass someone is ultimately left to the harasser, not the victim. It is never okay to put your hands on someone’s body without their permission, bottom line.
It’s 2010, are we done blaming the victim yet?