Don’t blame the victim; she wasn’t ‘asking for it’

By REBECCA ZHOU,
Central York High School

Recently, I’ve gotten myself into a Facebook tiff. Usually I don’t engage in Internet arguments because they’re a bit too childish, but I could not let this one status update go. Essentially, someone said that girls should stop going for the jerks and learn to go for the nice guys. I rebutted with the statement that guys should stop being jerks. Next thing I know, an argument ensues about whether it’s the guy’s fault for not treating his lady nicely or if it’s the girl’s fault for going back to jerk after jerk.

What this boils down to is victim blaming. Victim blaming is when the victim of an abusive maltreatment is held responsible for the transgressions committed against him or her, regardless of whether the victim actually held any responsibility for the incident. I cannot stand to see blatant victim blaming go unnoticed. It is such a horrible form of relationship abuse because it makes it more difficult for the victim to come forward and report the abuse, and it makes the victim feel like the abuse is her fault. That she should have learned her lesson from previous relationships. That she was asking for it.

Yes, the person got hurt, but that’s not a choice. No one CHOOSES to get hurt. No one wakes up in the morning and goes, “Man, I sure hope I get shoved into the floor today!” Initially, it is the aggressor’s fault. If the woman keeps coming back, that does seem rather silly. Wouldn’t you be better off alone than in an abusive situation? At least alone, no one else can hurt you.

A lot of girls wonder why they always end up with the The Jerk. Let’s face it — you’re not going to be able to tell right away. You’re not. Not for a few weeks at least. Why? Because people hide things when they want to make a good impression. Everyone does this, absolutely everyone. People put on a mask for first impressions, maybe even after that. So telling girls not to go after The Jerks doesn’t tell them a lot, as you can’t always differentiate.

Also, relationships and love change people. So no matter how “nice” a guy comes off, change might happen. Partly because you get to know him more and partly because love just makes people do funny things, or maybe they eventually reveal one’s true self. Again, no one purposely goes after The Jerk. That’s not desirable. I’ve never seen anyone go, “Wow, he’s such a jerk. I wanna get with that.” You don’t go looking for trouble; life is hard enough as it is.

But really, the main question here is whose fault is it: the guy’s or the girl’s? Look, there are no reasons to use violence or to insult anyone — whether you’re male, female, transgender or whatever you identify yourself as. And as for abuse, abuse comes in many forms. This doesn’t even boil down to being dominant. It really just boils down to being a decent human being.

To get help

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE.

 

About Matt Eyer

Breaking News Editor at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter @mjeyer.
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