A Good Enough Victim
Does one deserve to have evil done to her by consequence of putting herself where evil can reach her?
Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
We like to think our society has evolved in the way we deal with these things, we like to believe we’re enlightened. We use terms like survivor, we talk about it on Oprah. Hell, we even have a whole tv show dedicated to the stories of rape victims, which is… interesting. Anyway, it’s true, we’ve come a long way. But make no mistake, ladies- for all the progress we seem to have made in the way we deal with victims of sexual assault, they are still asking us what we could have done to prevent it, how much we had to drink, why we were walking alone at night. They are still measuring the length of our skirts.
There are approximately 240,000 sexual assaults every year in the US. That is one every 2 minutes- and that is only victims over the age of twelve. That doesn’t include child sexual abuse, which is an epidemic in and of itself.
When only 3 out of every 100 rapists will serve time- they are measuring our skirts.
When the desire to enjoy a beloved sitcom and pudding pops outweighs more than a dozen accusations spanning decades- they’re still measuring our skirts.
When a daylong FB debate can rage on over whether a woman could really have been raped if she sought her attacker’s company the following day- they’re still measuring our skirts.
When a college anti-sexual assault campaign poster is aimed only at the girls’ conduct; when a father, who sees it while dropping his daughter off at school, asks the question Where is the poster telling boys not to rape? and is met with a genuinely confused, blank stare from his child’s RA- they are still measuring our skirts.
When college administrators place a higher premium on preserving a rapist’s athletic career than on seeking justice for his victims; when a student is more likely to be expelled from college for plagiarism or theft than for rape, they are still measuring our skirts.
When university administrators in charge of supporting and advocating for victims of sexual assault gently nudge girls toward not filing formal complaints under the guise of being understanding and supportive, they are still measuring our skirts. Those “victim advocates?” They work for the school, not the victims.
When a Columbia student resorts to dragging her mattress, the very mattress on which she was assaulted, around campus with her EVERY DAY because the university- her university- declined to protect her from her assailant, a young man who had been accused of rape two times previously, they are still measuring our skirts.
When a victim doesn’t act exactly the way society thinks she should in the aftermath of her rape, and they decide that it can’t have been all that bad, or it didn’t happen- they’re still measuring our skirts.
When a celebrated writer about to speak at a university refers to being a rape victim on a college campus as a “coveted status,” he is measuring our skirts.
When an anchor on a major news outlet helpfully reminds us there are “ways not to perform” certain sex acts “if you don’t want to,” he is measuring our skirts.
When those same voices that tell you not to provoke or put yourselves in harm’s way, are telling you to SMILE, Beautiful– and you have to decide whether to smile and have it be seen as encouragement, or ignore it and be berated or worse- MAKE NO MISTAKE- they are measuring your skirt.
When one of the determinants of a sexual assault case going to trial is whether or not the prosecutor has a good victim; when a woman is responsible for preventing herself from being raped, but if God forbid she is- she needs to both have led a blameless life beforehand, and react “appropriately” afterward in order for justice to be served. MAYBE. They are STILL MEASURING our goddamned skirts.
I have been seeing more and more focus on rape convictions- unfortunately the people being convicted of rape are the victims, not the perpetrators. More and more women and girls are being found guilty. Guilty of having been raped.
WHAT is UP with all of these banks? I mean, over 5,000 of them get robbed annually. When are they going to LEARN and stop getting themselves robbed? I mean, they’re just sitting there, flaunting their money in broad daylight. And some of these banks are in dicey neighborhoods. I mean, honestly. They let ANYONE walk right in. The thieves stroll up to the counter, and the tellers smile at them, and ask them what they want- what do they THINK is going to happen? They really should not put themselves in that position. Then, after they’ve totally let themselves be held up, they turn around, unlock the front doors and open up again the NEXT DAY. Have they learned nothing? I mean, there’re ways to not get yourself robbed. At a certain point, these banks need to show some good judgment and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.
And that, my friends, is the difference in the way we treat rape versus other crimes in this country.