Don’t Blame the Victim

Don't Blame the Victim

by Amanda Nist

Granite Bay Today

November 1, 2013


Opinion Piece

Sometimes, it’s just easier to blame the victim.

People can’t admit to themselves that a friend, a family member, or someone they admire could rape someone, so they take the easy route and say it’s the victim who caused it. People say they’re lying, or they were “asking” for it.  Ultimately, they’re putting the blame on the person who was traumatized, and telling them it was their fault for being attacked.

How can you hold someone accountable for something that was forced upon them?

Daisy Coleman was 14 and living in Marysville, Missouri. Audrie Pott was 15 and living in Saratoga, California. Rehtaeh Parsons was 15 and living in Dartmouth, Canada. Cherice Moralez was 14 and living in Billings, Montana. James Landrith was 19 and living in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Lizzie Seeburg was 19 and living in Notre Dame, Indiana.

What do these people have in common? They are all victims of rape who have been blamed for their actions.

In Pott, Parsons, Moralez, and Seeburg’s cases, they were bullied to the point where they felt they could no longer be in this world, and all four committed suicide. They were told they asked for their rape and they should be blaming themselves. Moralez’s attacker only suffered 30 days in jail, because the court ruled that she was over developed and looked over 14, so she had put herself into the situation.

So, because the judge thought that she looked older than 14, he ruled that it was okay for her teacher to rape her, and gave him the minimum sentence. How can this girl have been told it was her fault for getting raped because she went through puberty before the rest of her classmates?

This is the problem with people today. Victims of sexual assault are told that what they’re going through is not a big deal and they should consider their role in the attack that happened to them.

I once heard my brother tell his friend “I’m going to rape you,” while he was just implying he was going defeat him in a video game. I’ve also heard sports players at this school say “we’re going to get raped” while talking about being beat in an upcoming game.

So, if we associate being “raped” with being defeated or being destroyed, how can we blame the victim? That’s like telling someone who got hit by a car, while walking on the sidewalk, that it was their fault for getting hit because they were walking on the sidewalk. It doesn’t make any sense.

It’s not just individual people that need to take this more seriously either, groups and organizations need to as well. Recently, reports have come out stating that USC failed to report at least 11 sexual assault cases because they did not want to hurt their image, so they blew it off saying they’d tell the rapists to “knock it off.” And if this is just at USC, can you imagine all of the unreported cases throughout the whole country? That could be hundreds of people, male and female, not getting the attention and help they deserve because people don’t care enough to report it.

A recent study done by the CDC (Center of Disease Control) reports that only 5% of college rapes are reported and only 10% of those rapes result in the rapist going to prison. This means barely anyone who is raped gets justice for what’s been done to them.

Also, according to One in Four USA, a non profit organization dedicated to preventing rape, of just the rapes reported to the police, which is 1/3 or less to begin with, only 16% result in prison sentences. Therefore, approximately 5% of the time, a man who rapes ends up in prison, and 95% of the time he does not.

I want people to be able to report their assault and get justice for it. Boys and girls shouldn’t have to live in fear of being bullied or accused of lying if they want their attacker to be rightfully sentenced. And above all, rapists shouldn’t get the satisfaction of thinking they can do whatever they want and get away with it. They need to be told that they are at fault and it’s not okay to think they can force sex upon someone.

As a society, we need to know right from wrong, and we need to take the issue of rape more seriously. However, most importantly, we need to stop blaming the victim of rape. It is not their fault they got attacked, they did not want it to be brought upon them, and they most certainly did not ask for it.

Ultimately, stop taking the easy route in blaming the victim, and open your mind to the possibility that maybe a friend, a family member, or someone you look up to, did do something wrong.


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