Imagine, if you will, a writer banging away at her keyboard with none save her gnomes for encouragement.
A bit of happy encouragement came today from a non-gnome source! I had entered a poem, titled Not Just Jacob, to a contest held by Bars Without Rhythm.
I found out today that I WON! If you'd like to read the poem, head over to the Bars Without Rhythm website.
Trigger Warning- rape
Top Three Generic Victim Blamers
I was posting back and forth in a support group with other victims of child sexual abuse, tears in my eyes as we assured each other that we deserved better. Everyone was supportive, some disclosing more than others. It was a fragile process. Some people have never heard anyone say to them it is not your fault.
That’s when the generic victim blaming character came along. It always happens in these forums. Someone notices survivors talking and feels the need to point out all the ways the child could have contributed to their own abuse. They each have their own special brand of generic behavior. I’m going to cover the top three types of victim blamers I’ve encountered.
The Teary Eyed Rapist
Teary Eyed Rapist usually has a personal story they refer to of a child in their life that acted “seductive”.
The particular instance I’ll reference for the Teary Eyed Rapist type revolved around the ability of a ten year old year girl to “seduce”. The generic character argued that a “normal” child would be more innocent than a previously abused child, who would know exactly what she was doing as she seduced an adult male. He claimed that her behavior (much of what he described fits the pattern of children who have been groomed by pedophiles) needed to be addressed, as it made her rapist less guilty.
I refuted his claims. It started to feel uncomfortably like arguments I had with an adult man who raped me when I was underage. The assertion Teary Eyed Rapist put forward that if a child has been previously abused, she/he is no longer innocent and therefore less worthy of sympathy is absolutely abhorrent. The audacity of high jacking a group of survivors to blame them for being found “sexy” to their rapists made me feel physically ill. Teary Eyed Rapist said he was just trying to make sure all the factors are known. Because it matters to him. “If you’re going to defend the 10 year old stick to the facts…”
I’ve got one fact that renders all other considerations invalid- ten years old.
If an adult feels they can be “seduced” by a child, they are unquestionably the one with the problem.
Once it became clear that I would not accept that a ten year old seduced her attacker, Teary Eyed Rapist changed tactics slightly. He implored me to see beyond my obviously emotionally impaired judgement, so that I could see how he cared about the children so much. “It does no one any good if they can’t see the child’s portion of the blame.” He pleaded. When that didn’t work, he switched again. He said I was crazy. He attacked me with curses and said I obviously can’t handle the facts and should leave.
What he really wanted was me to admit my culpability so that he can assuage his own guilt over rapes he either committed or wanted to commit. Since it is such a generic argument rapists use, I know.
The whole time Teary Eyed Rapist maintained he cared about the children, which is why he noticed their seductive behavior.
The Worried about Rapists Therapist
This generic character is particularly insidious because people grant them immediate credibility. The Worried about Rapist Therapist inserts themselves into the conversation to inform survivors of how hard prison is on the perpetrator. They let us know how society has failed the sex offender, because they just need more rehabilitation programs.
Sometimes they tell us we need to read a book about empathy or some other self-help garbage. The therapist then demands we forgive the rapist, because that is the only way we will heal. They attempt to guilt trip anyone who is not agreeable to their ideals. I swear, this is a generic character.
Garden Variety Rape Apologist
Garden Variety Rape Apologists lurk around watching the conversation so that when they start to comment they come in strong, picking apart the survivor’s stories.
They will blame everyone in the world for the rape but the rapist. A lot of the time, they blame the rapist’s wife. If his wife knew, and did nothing she is at best a coward and at worst his accomplice, but he is still the rapist.
They blame video games, or pornography, or plunging necklines, but never do they blame the rapist. They will argue until they are blue in the face in defense of the rapist who could not help himself.
I’ve had it with people who work so hard to defend the honor of rapists. I don’t need someone to ask what I wore, how I acted, if I was previously abused, if I came from a broken family, if I was attractive to the rapist, ect. I don’t need to empathize with my attackers. If someone gets murdered, do people line up to ask if the victim was a jerk and therefore had it coming?
I’ve heard time and time again to tell. That telling is the absolute correct thing to do, and I hope the culture continues to shift in a way where justice is easier to obtain. But if you do disclose, the reality is you face an uphill battle against people who seek to blame you. It is unfortunate that it happens so often in the very communities set up for survivors to heal in.