EDUCATION

Victim Blaming – Why It’s Wrong

Victim blaming concept word cloud background

The abuser is to blame.  Yet some people blame the victim too.  “She knew what type of man she was getting into a relationship with!”  “She must be so naive to believe that he is sorry!”  And other judgements.  “Probably she is as bad as him!”  “She must have done something to provoke him!”  “What sort of a woman would get involved with an abusive man?  She can’t be very intelligent!”

I’d like to address the above unfair judgements, and to dispute them.  They are not based on reality.

 A woman who enters into a relationship with an abusive man does not see the full extent of his nastiness in the early, honeymoon stage.  There may be signs of an abusive character, especially in hindsight, but basically a man will be wearing a mask in the beginning stages of the relationship.  He wants to “catch her” and “reel her in”.  He wouldn’t be able to do that if he were to show his true colors when originally courting her.

 When a good person hears another person apologize for something and promise to not do that thing again, why would she not believe him?  If she apologized and vowed to not do something again, she would mean it!

 Is it likely that she is as bad as him?  No.  It is not usual for an abusive person to abuse another abusive person.

 Even if she did provoke him, there is no excuse for abuse.  Ever.

 No woman is immune from being a victim of Domestic Violence.  She might be of any race or ethnicity, of any level of intelligence, from any socio-economic background, any age.  The bottom line is that it is never the fault of the victim.

 

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Yes. We Respond To Brock Turner’s Dad

Brock Turner’s father, Dan A. Turner, views rape as “20 minutes of action”!  That is what we find, reading Dan Turner’s court statement.  Brock Turner raped a woman in January 2015.  She was unconscious at the time.  Brock Turner was convicted of three felonies.  Prosecutors wanted a sentence of at least six years in state prison.  Dan Turner felt that such a sentence would be “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action”.  First of all, it is disgusting that rape would be described as “minutes of action”!  “Incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock … Probation is the best answer for Brock in this situation”.  My second point is that “this situation” that Dan Turner refers to, is a violent crime that his son has committed.  Brock sexually assaulted a woman and deeply altered this woman’s life forever.  But Dan Turner is more concerned with how his rapist son’s life has been altered.  In his court statement, he wrote, “Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever … His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve.”  I ask, “Whose fault is that?”

I am appalled by Dan Turner’s comments in his court statement.  He defends and minimizes the act of rape to such a degree that I, and countless others I feel sure, feel sickened.  “Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society”, wrote Dan about his son.  Did I read that correctly?  It seems that Dan is desperate to support his son regardless of how awful his son’s behavior is.  I understand wanting to protect one’s family members, but when a family member sexually violates another human being?  Dan wrote that his son “is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity”.  How dare he suggest that his son would be a good candidate for communicating with others, with a view to teaching them, about sexual relations!  And bringing up the topic of the dangers of alcohol consumption appears to me to basically be an attempt to discredit the victim of the rape and essentially to blame her for what was so brutally done to her in January of last year.

 

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Calling Me A Child Witness?

I am called a child witness because I witnessed intimate partner violence in my home as a child.  But, I call myself a survivor. You see, I saw the abuse, felt the emotional turmoil and will never forget it. So, how am I a witness?  I survived it too!  I saw the physical, emotional, psychological and financial abuse. I saw my mother beaten and her pain as I felt mine.  I felt it too!

As an organizer who works to decentralize power within policy reform, it is important that I strike labels and words that do not properly identify me. I strike the name child witness from my personal identity and embrace survivor.  My pain is healing and is now becoming my power to advocate for justice.

So, when I am called a child witness to intimate partner violence. I simply say “yes, I saw the abuse, and felt it too.”  I am a survivor not a child witness!  I give you back that name.

-Alex

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