Last night, after I made a super fab dinner for my husband and a close friend (who is staying with us for a while), we all sat down in my yellow living room to watch “Police Women of Broward County,” a newish TLC show following a few kick-ass lady cops.
On the show, there’s a policewoman who specializes in sexual assault and rape cases. Her part of the show is always the most heartbreaking, at least in my opinion.
So there we all are, sitting on the couch, and this lady cop is interviewing the victim and her story is brutal. She was accused of stealing this guy’s money while hanging out at this house. Knowing she doesn’t have the money and hasn’t done anything wrong, she says, “Go ahead, search me, I don’t have your money.” So he strip searches her and then things take a turn for the worse. Long story short, two men raped her, while this other female directed and watched the whole thing, all while this woman is crying and asking them to stop.
My friend says, “You know, if these women weren’t all cracked out, and if they didn’t put themselves in these situations, maybe they wouldn’t get raped.”
Ummm…excuse me? So, you’re saying it’s the victim’s fault she was raped? It’s HER fault they forcefully had both anal and vaginal sex with her? Really?
I was pissed. LIVID. I told her that’s a little thing called victim blaming and it’s not okay and it is NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT. Never. Ever, ever, ever. I told her attitudes like that are the reason 60% of sexual assaults and rapes aren’t reported.
She kept saying, “Well, I just mean that if she didn’t put herself in that situation, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Seriously, lady? I sat there, after repeating AGAIN that victim blaming is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE and then she just shut up and I could tell she wanted to say something back but she didn’t because she’s staying at my house for free.
So I sat there, livid, thinking of all the things I would say if she brought it up again. I wanted to ask her how many times she’s gotten fall-down stupid drunk with our group of guy friends and how that’s any different than the situation that woman “put” herself in. She’d probably argue that our guy friends are all good guys and would never do anything like that and while I’d be inclined to agree, I also know that 2/3 of sexual assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim, that 38% of rapists are “friends” of the victim, that 28% are intimate partners with the victim, that 1 in 6 women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape during their lifetime (and that’s a pretty conservative estimate).
What hurt me the most, what pissed me off and made me consider kicking this person out of my house, is that she’s a fellow woman. I’m constantly astonished by women, by the way the throw each other under buses, leave each other to rot, and blame each other for rapes, rapes which are never, ever their fault. I just don’t get it. I don’t get how someone I consider to be a friend, someone I felt like I knew well could say something like that, feel something like, be someone that could blame victims.
I guess I’m lacking in aware female friends. I have them, I know them, they don’t live far from me and I think I need to step it up and become closer to these women who get it, women who understand rape is never justified and that a woman’s body is her own, because I miss, really truly miss, the days of sitting outside for hours talking about serious social issues. It’s what I’m lacking in my current group of friends and while I love them all, I really do, I just can’t talk to these people. I can drink with these people, joke with these people, party with these people, but I’m realizing now, that’s about as far as it goes.