On Victim Blaming – Re: Lara Logan

No word yet from anyone anywhere that Bobby Bones responded to my post. And, as far as I know, Dudley dropped it today, too.

Jessica Valenti on our (essentially unending and infuriating) need for and our go-to move of blaming victims of sexual assault:

And that’s why we shouldn’t be shocked by Rosen’s comments — he simply tweeted what many Americans already think. That rape is funny. That it wasn’t that big a deal. That she deserved it.

Victim-blaming is, sadly, still an entrenched part of our culture, from schoolyards to the government. In fact, the same week that Logan’s assault was made public, a group of female service members sued the Pentagon — specifically naming Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld — for failing to acknowledge or adequately react to the widespread problem of sexual assault in the military. In 2009, 3,230 service members reported being raped or sexually assaulted; the Department of Defense estimates that 80 percent of sexual assault survivors don’t report their attacks, which would put the real number closer to 16,000. […]

Even the men and women who serve our country are not safe from blame if they are assaulted. You can imagine, then, what it’s like for those women who don’t fit the “perfect victim” stereotype. If we were drinking, we should have known better; if we were wearing a revealing outfit, we must have wanted it. The truth is that the circumstances surrounding a sexual assault don’t mean much. As feminist blogger Melissa McEwan put it some years back, you’re not raped because of what you wear or what you drank — women are raped because they were unlucky enough to be in the presence of a rapist. […]

Victims of sexual assault will continue to be blamed, and many of us will still ignore the way that the culture allows it to happen. It’s good that Rosen was taken to task, and I’m glad that the vast majority of people responding seem to understand why he was so wrong. But let’s not pretend that attacks like Rosen’s are isolated, instead let’s take this as an opportunity to defend all women with the same vigor that we’re defending Logan.

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