In Victim-Blaming Part 1: Texas Gang Rape of a Child
, we discussed the facts around the case of a gang-raped 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, TX. We touched upon the victim-blaming of the 11-year-old victim that is occurring in the press and among the local populace, and we reminded readers of the case of Samantha Kelly, who died by suicide Nov. 8, 2010 after being terrorized by her town and schoolmates. The Kelly case is pertinent to this discussion of victim-blame because that assault, victim-blame, and suicide occurred between the Cleveland girl’s first and final assaults.
The Kelly and Cleveland cases are recent examples of pervasive sexual assault victim-blaming in our society. I understand why males so easily climb aboard the victim-blaming bandwagon. No male wants to believe that an error in judgment on his part could result in a sexual encounter with life-long repercussions. That’s a very scary prospect, as it should be. If it’s always others (i.e. Those Guys) who do sick things to the obviously undefended, then their actions are indefensible and justly-punished. If it’s the insane, egregious, and unimaginable acts of the mentally ill that are “sexual assaults,” then Joe Sixpack’s activities are unimpeachable, leaving him safe and without worry.
This safety, though, is dangerous: It allows Joe Sixpack to not consider his own motivations, question his own actions, monitor his own intentions, and reflect upon his own kink. As a result . . . Date rape, statutory rape, spousal rape, and other forms of coercion, intimidation, and sexual victimization easily occur, perpetrated by otherwise normal men, because Joe Sixpack is so tightly wrapped in his Those Guys safety blanket that he‘s blind to his own actions.
While females jumping onto the victim-blaming bandwagon is not a new phenomenon, it is strikingly vicious here. How much more of a blameless victim could one have than an 11 -year-old girl? The source of female victim-blaming really isn’t that far removed from that of male victim-blaming.
Consider this — Real-life press coverage of sexual assault cases and the opinions of The People repeatedly tell us that it’s a specific type of person who is sexually assaulted. It’s not your sister, your best friend, or the sales clerk, it’s That Kind of Girl. Since it’s That Kind of Girl who is sexually assaulted, then sexual assault victims deserve to be sexually assaulted because, of course, they could have chosen to not be That Kind of Girl.
The corollary to this is that if you choose to not be That Kind of Girl, you won’t be sexually assaulted. (Good luck on figuring out what That Kind of Girl actually is in the eyes of a potential victimizer.)
The That Kind of Girl fallacy is very important to acknowledge, because it’s the result of the fact that believing that anyone could be sexually assaulted is much too frightening a proposition for most of us to fully accept. Continuing to believe the fairy tale that a sexual assault victim deserves it because she is That Kind of Girl wraps the believer in a cocoon of safety similar to that of Joe Sixpack’s Those Guys safety blanket.
Females also, to an extent, buy in to the Those Guys concept. We find it difficult to believe that our brother, boyfriend, date, co-worker, or friend, someone we know, could sexually assault someone. Because, if they could sexually assault someone, then they could sexually assault us. The female brain almost grinds to a halt on this thought, and it will do anything possible to avoid it. As a result, someone we know could never sexually assault someone. It’s just more material for the That Kind of Girl safety cocoon.
The That Kind of Girl and Those Guys lines of thought are subtle, insidious, and cancerous. They are also subliminally ingrained to some extent in every Jane Sixpack’s brain. This conceptual combination lying dormant in the female mind until provoked is actually more dangerous than the That Kind of Girl concept being an easy fall-back for Joe Sixpack when his Those Guys safety blanket is pulled away.
Both the Those Guys and That Kind of Girl concepts are fallacies. Worse than simply being false operating assumptions, they keep all of us (males and females alike) blind to our own motivations, spouting nonsense, doing stupid things in our own lives, re-victimizing victims, and generally walking around with our heads up our asses concerning sexual assault. These concepts allow Jane Sixpack to continue participating in the culture of sexual abuse in which too much of our country is invested when she should be trying to open Joe Sixpack’s eyes about the fallacy of Those Guys.
Females will never make males understand their own individual culpability in our culture of abuse if we’re participating in it. It’s not a wonder that so many males truly believe we’re two-faced on the matter, selectively making groundless accusations as revenge tactics for other wrongs, when we don’t unite and refuse to denigrate sexual abuse of every type, on every occasion, when the accusations are legitimate and provable.
In this we are not united and reliable, and as a result we send mixed messages due to our own cognitive dissonance. Our vacillation is more obvious to them than it is to us. How could they believe anything else, especially the younger ones?
For those who disagree, before you go moonbat nuts in the Comments, understand that I am not saying we females bear partial responsibility for our own sexual assaults — Far from it. What I’m saying is that we bear partial responsibility for the culture of abuse in which we all live, the overall culture and cancerous concepts that allow victimizers to justify their actions, bystanders to overlook them, and The People to forgive them. We bear partial responsibility because we are not a united front against these concepts. While we’ve gained remarkable ground in the last 50 years, we have a long way to go. We can’t stop now.
It’s high time to bury Those Guys and That Kind of Girl six feet under — Where they belong.
Say it loudly, and say it proudly — Jane and Joe alike — We will not stand for sexual victimization in any form. Live it as well as saying it. If we all do it, and we teach our children the same, we will make more progress on eradicating the victim-blaming cancer in our society.
Further Reading on the Psychology of Victim-Blame: