Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's My Fault

It's my fault. Have you ever thought that? Before you answer, let me give you some variations on that theme:

I went to his house. 

I agreed to the go out with him.

I was drinking.

I was thinking about hooking up with him.

I was wearing my shortest skirt.

What is the common thread in all of these statements? The word I. That one simple little word leads to one major conclusion in your mind:

I went to his house…so it's my fault.

I agreed to the go out with him…so it's my fault.

I was drinking…so it's my fault.

I was thinking about hooking up with him…so it's my fault.

I was wearing my shortest skirt…so it's my fault.

And that's the problem. A crime was perpetrated upon YOU…but somehow you've made it your fault.

It's not a new problem. It's called blaming the victim, and sexual assault is the only crime in which blaming the victim is not just accepted, it's encouraged. But the worst offender is not the media, or your parents, or your friends…though to be fair they're often a problem too. It's you.

Would you ask a survivor of homicide why they pissed off the murderer? No, you wouldn't. Because nobody survives a homicide. You survived your crime.

If a lock was broken on someone's car door, and they neglected to fix it, would it be their fault that their car got stolen? No, because any level of neglect doesn't justify a crime.

Instinctively, we know it's insane it blame a murder victim, or someone whose possessions were stolen. But survivors blame themselves - you blame yourself - for a crime against you as a matter of course.

The situation is no different if you were a survivor of childhood sexual abuse or stranger rape. Children say to themselves, "If I wasn't pretty my daddy wouldn't have hurt me." Adults say to themselves, "I should have been more careful." Listen, how long do you have to do this before you turn the blame on the person who deserves it?

Someone should be able to stand in front of someone else buck naked and not get raped. If anyone else was telling you their story of assault or abuse, you wouldn't blame them.

So why blame yourself?

Your challenge today is to shift your thinking.

I went to his house…but I didn't ask to be sexually assaulted.

I agreed to the go out with him…but not to get raped.

I was drinking…so I couldn't give consent.

I was thinking about hooking up with him…but I'm allowed to change my mind.

I was wearing my shortest skirt…so what?

I was a pretty child…but no one deserves abuse.

I should have been more careful…the perpetrator should not have done what they did.

Your turn. What blaming questions have you asked yourself?

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