No More Victim Blaming

When Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, he had 12 allegations of sexual assault against him.

When Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, he had 12 allegations of sexual assault against him.

Honestly, think about that. Think about how shocking and disgusting that is. That means that twelve women came forward and spoke up about how this man put his hands on their body without their consent, and the majority of the American people heard that and just kind of went, “yeah, whatever. That doesn’t say anything about him as a person. I’m sure he’d still make a good leader.”

That means that the majority of the American people heard these twelve women speak up against a very public figure, something that must have been incredibly difficult for them to do, and they either didn’t believe them or they didn’t care.

And you know what makes me even angrier at this whole ordeal? Imagine what it would have been like if Hilary had come forth and said that she had been sexually assaulted at some point in her life. Not by Donald Trump, just by anyone. It doesn’t even have to be recently, just at some point in her life. There would be people applauding her for her bravery, sure, but I bet you anything that there would also be those who question what sort of person that makes her. Was she drunk at the time? Was she wearing revealing clothing? Was she leading him on, like some sort of slut? Did she deserve it? Because we can’t have someone like that leading the country. Clearly, being sexually assaulted as a woman is an indication of a lapse in character.

And clearly, being responsible for sexual assault is no problem at all. It doesn’t affect the kind of person you are. It doesn’t make you any less capable of leading a country (even though half of its population consists of the very people that he’s proven he doesn’t see as people). Being a sexual predator means nothing at all.

Fuck that.

You can call me an angry feminist all you like, because you know what? I am angry.

I’m angry because when my mom was a teenager, the police advised her not to seek legal action against her rapist because it was her word against his, simultaneously robbing her of her chance at justice and entrapping some other poor girl to the same fate. The very people who were supposed to keep her safe and protected did this to her. I’m angry because that was in the 1980’s – it is now 2016, and things still aren’t any better. There are still women who are afraid to come forth about their rape.

I’m angry because of men like Brock Turner and all the pandering, misogynistic men lost in their own heads around him who excused his actions and let him get away with the violation of a human being. I’m angry because, according to the judge, it would have been unfair to give Brock Turner a long prison sentence for a crime that witnesses saw him commit – never mind how unfair it is that his victim now has to live with the resulting trauma. She isn’t an athlete or a man, after all, so that somehow makes her trauma okay.

I’m angry because the first questions that always come to the public’s mind when they hear about a rape case don’t tend to be “is she alright” or “how could he do such a thing”. No, it’s the same old bullshit about how they can somehow pin it on her, somehow make this traumatic experience her own fault. I’m angry because people so rarely blame the rapist, when he is the only one at fault.

And that’s when the woman is believed – there are so many situations where it’s just assumed that the victim is lying. Take Donald Trump for instance, or any situation where a woman (or women) come forth about being assaulted by a celebrity years after the event. “Well, if he did it,” some people say with their nose in the air and a holier-than-thou attitude, “then why didn’t she say anything earlier?” Honestly, think about that statement: you are doubting a woman for speaking up, and yet you wonder why she didn’t speak up? Not to mention: he’s a celebrity. He’s a rich and powerful figure with lawyers who could probably crush you and a fan-base determined to see him in the best light possible: why would she speak up? And this doesn’t just happen with celebrity cases, either. The idea that “the woman is lying” is so common that it’s practically become a trope, and while I have heard of cases where women have lied, I can assure you that they are such a minority that, really, it isn’t a problem. Think about it: why would a woman subject herself to all of that for a lie? Why would she allow herself to be doubted and blamed, slut-shamed and accused, for something that wasn’t real? And, more importantly, why are we doing all of these things to innocent victims of traumatic experiences!?

This needs to change. And as much as I’m encouraged by the fact that people are talking about this issue more openly lately, especially with such big cases in the news such as the Brock Turner case, it isn’t enough – and the baffling election of a sexual predator as president of the United States is proof of that. We need to do something. We need to demand a change, we need to talk about it more, we need to consider the way that we think about these things. We need to stop ignoring or putting the blame on the victim. We need to make this right.

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