Who’s to blame?

Over the past few weeks, there has been a rebellion.  Prominent, powerful men in Hollywood and MPs in England are being exposed, highlighting their disgusting behaviour against mainly women and in some cases men, and even children.

It’s about time.  Humans have been around for approximately 10,000 years – and over those years, women have had to fight for equality every-painstaking-step of the way.

The really sad fact about all of the revelations and allegations,  is something that makes me so fucking angry.  Yes I’ve sworn.  I don’t care who I offend.  In all walks of life, no matter what has happened – there are a collection men and incredibly even women – who think they are being incredibly smart by blaming the victim!

Well, it helped their career didn’t it?   Why didn’t they say anything at the time?  Why didn’t they just smack him away – I would have!  Did it really happen?  Oh they’re jumping on the bandwagon to help further their career.

And so on and so forth…

To the fuckwits who blame the victim.  You!  You are exactly why people are too afraid to report anything.  You are the reason why people stay quiet.  You enable the predators to assault and attack people in a vulnerable position again and again and again.  You are just as responsible as the dirty, filthy, repulsive attackers.

Yesterday, I listened to a snippet of an anonymous woman who called into the Asian Network and described a period of her life, when she was 16 years old.  Over an 8 week period, a 55 year old man became friendly with her.  She was friendly and polite back.  As the weeks progressed, he would find her and sit next to her on a daily basis.  Soon after, this moved onto him groping her on a daily basis on the tubes in London.  No one helped her.  Everyone turned a blind eye.  Finally, she had the courage to confide in a friend, who called the police immediately.  The police were incredible, went undercover, saw what he was doing with their own eyes and the filthy old man was arrested and charged,  His defence?  He thought she liked it because she never said anything!

Then….I read the comments section, and my stomach turned, I could almost feel the vomit in my mouth.  Who were the comments aimed at?  The girl.  The young girl who was 16 at the time.

Why did it take her so long to say something?  Why didn’t she hit him?  Why didn’t she shout at him on the tube?

So they blamed a frightened, shocked 16 year old girl  (who is not an adult!!!!) for being openly molested by a 55 year old man because SHE didn’t stop him straight away.

THIS – ladies and gentleman is the problem! THIS!  Why did she put up with it?

I read something recently that really made me think.  We need to stop using the passive voice when talking about sexual assaults.  We need to stop saying: 16 year old girl was groped by 55 year old man.  If you think about it – by the very fact that she is mentioned first, the perpetrator is an after thought.  It almost suggests that she was passive and LET this happen. We should use the active voice so that actually the person responsible and their actions are mentioned first: 55 year old man gropes 16 year old girl.   It’s a subtle difference – but actually this is what needs to start happening.

Whenever I read or hear about reports of sexual harrassement my blood boils and stomach churns because often it focuses on high-profile men who have abused people and are finally being held to account.  The fact is that sexual harrassment happens in all walks of life – ironically, it’s the low-profile people who are more likely to get away with it because they aren’t newsworthy; vicitms are afraid of being labelled as trouble makers or losing their jobs; and last of all, if they do speak to someone – sometimes a woman in a higher position, they are blocked from going further.

I know of a woman who was being sexually harrassed by a senior colleague at her workplace.  He would make inappropriate comments about her looks; try to pressure her into going for drinks after work on their own,  (which she never went to); he would stare at parts of her body, deliberately, in order to make her feel uncomfortable.  So, she reported it.  To a more senior female colleague.  Their response?  He’s not like that.  He’s a really nice man.  You should be flattered.  I would be, with that attention.  You shouldn’t talk about people in that way.

So –  he got away wtih it – protected by a senior FEMALE, who felt that they would have liked that attention.  And what happened to the woman?  She couldn’t bear it any longer and had to find a new job.

I myself, when I was younger, experienced quite a few scary, unsettling incidents of a similar vein with much older men.  When I say I was young – I was a teenager.  Early teens.  And the problem is that you are meant to respect elders aren’t you?  You’re meant to show respect.  Be polite – that’s instilled in you from a very early age.  No one teaches you how to fight back.  No one teaches you how to fight that feeling when you are paralysed by fear.  No one.

This is what we need to teach our children from a very young age.  HOW TO FIGHT BACK.  We focus on children needing to show respect to elders – but there are people who are not worthy of respect and powerful people have to earn respect by their behaviour.

And we need to stop victim blamng.  You do not have the right to tell someone what they should have done, in a situation that frightened them, stopped them from being able to function normally that ended up with them being violated.  IT WAS NOT THEIR FAULT!

Treat the actual criminals with the contempt that they deserve.

 

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