New lows in victim blaming

Victim Blaming seems to have been taking a disturbing new turn this month, with a few horrendous stories emerging of child victims being blamed.

A councillor in Scotland has recently been sacked for suggesting a 9 year old “wanted it to happen” when she was raped.    The New York Times this week seems to have more sympathy for the “boys” (aged between 18 and 27, hardly innocent children) who will “have to live with this for the rest of their lives” than the 11 year old girl they gang-raped.  She sometimes wore inappropriate clothes, and y’know, what was she doing outside her home anyway?

These incidents are especially concerning, as they are happening in the mainstream, amongst people who really should know better.  A councillor, in a court room, on the record.  The New York Times.  Ok, not known for being liberal, but hardly extreme.

I blogged recently about the reporting of rape and the desire in the mainstream press to brand all women as liars.  But this additional step, that all females – even girls as young as 9 – are evil temptresses, and to blame even in cases of rape is truly alarming.  The phrase “Promiscuous behaviour” being used as a justification for assault – even in the case of children – is extremely worrying for all of us.

Not only is this 9 year old child being blamed based on her own behaviour (not fighting back hard enough) she’s also being judged on the behaviour of any girls vaguely in her age group.  “walk into any high school and observe girls in short skirts coupled with their promiscuous behaviour”.  Well, 9 year olds don’t often go to high school, but even if they did, this is not the point.
Women being able to wear short skirts, maybe to drink, or even <Shock / Horror> enjoy sex does not mean rape is justifiable.  In fact, the behaviour of other women and girls has nothing to do with one individual case of rape.  And y’know what, the previous behaviour of the 11 year old girl in Cleveland has nothing to do with her being gang-raped by a group of adults.

New York Times writers and public officials should learn what we’ve known for ages.  Victims aren’t to blame for rape.  Rapists are.


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