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Friday, January 10, 2014

Don't be a Dick, Victim Blamers

Posted by Barbara Holm on Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Hey, did you guys forget that the world is a scarier place than a haunted house where a clown got murdered to death? I did for a second, and then I got reminded by the town of Maryville, Missouri that people can be awful.

A teenage girl Daisy Coleman, (her mom gave permission for the media to use her name) was allegedly raped by a high school senior, Matthew Barnett, left unconscious on her front lawn. When she came forward she was shamed publicly for accusing a local high school football star. Barnett was charged only with a misdemeanor, and all rape charges were dropped, because of a lack of evidence.

Daisy's mom told reporters a girl wrote on Daisy's Facebook wall, "you’re a fake and a phony," and even worse, that high school girl wasn't Holden Caulfield. Another Facebook post said, "you wanted it...you’re a slut." (Protip: if someone wanted sex they usually don't need to be blackout drunk and semi-conscious. When someone wants sex they usually say, "I want sex." Or in my case, "My what a big Astonishing X-Men collection you have there. All the better to lend to me before and after I make love to you?")

Blaming the victim is traumatizing. Local comedian Lucia Fasano has a joke about it: "This is my impression of what it looks like when a woman is 'asking for it.' Please can we have sex? Please can we have sex? Come on, I'm going to get my period like yesterday. Please can we have sex?"

I hate that a young girl was slut shamed by her community. Matt's friend Jordan Zech reportedly filmed the rape but then deleted the video, because I guess the cinematography didn't invoke enough of the pedantic stylings of french noir. On Thursday all rape charges were dropped like they were hot. On Twitter the hashtag #jordanandmattarefree was started by Matt's friends to celebrate. That's disgusting. Even worse, no cake.

It breaks my heart that victims are shamed on the internet. It makes me disappointed in the Illuminati of lol-cats who run the web. I guess they're too busy worrying about keyboards, cheeseburgers, and catnip to understand the repercussions of victim shaming. Blaming the victim not only hurts the victim in question but also discourages others from coming forward, and reiterates the underlying fear that we don't have agency over our own bodies, that we're things to be looked at and acted upon.

My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any form of victim shaming. I just want you to know, it's never your fault. Blame the perpetrator, blame society, blame the dynasty of the ducks, but never blame yourself. I'm so sorry you have to go through awful ordeals and I'm so proud of you for being brave enough to come forward, not just for yourself, but for women everyone. There are people out there who love and support you in your bravery, and I'm one of them.

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