Why We Need To Stop Victim Blaming

Why We Need To Stop Victim Blaming

The importance of tackling victim-blaming behavior.
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For the second week in a row, I have decided to write about a current event. If you have spent any time on social media or watching the news recently, you most likely have heard about the Stanford Rape Case. In January of 2015, a 20-year-old male by the name of Brock Turner was discovered raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Unfortunately, I did not become familiar with the case until just recently when Turner was sentenced to a mere six months in prison for the charges held against him, with a guaranteed release after three months if he displays good behavior throughout his incarceration. Mind you, the maximum sentencing for the charges Brock Turner obtained adds up to a total of 14 years. Upon hearing about the sentencing, I did my research on the case and became rather disgusted by how this country portrays rape. In this article, I plan to outline the highlights of this case and how it sends a very poor message to society regarding the seriousness and repercussions associated with rape.

The lenient sentencing of six months in prison just further demonstrates how flawed and in need of reform our justice system is. The judge's ideal behind his decision was that a sentencing of anything more than six months would have a severe impact on Brock Turner's life. What about the victim? Did he consider that Turner's actions have a severe impact on her life? My guess is that he did consider this, as any judge would, but the ideal clearly did not weigh too heavily on his mind based on his ultimate decision. The unjustified sentencing of only six months for a crime that will have a lasting impact on the victim and her family sends such a poor message to both the victims of rape and to the perpetrators of it.


If you have not had the opportunity to read the powerful letter the victim wrote and read to her perpetrator during the proceedings, I highly recommend that you do. In the letter she describes how the event was immensely impactful in her life and continues to be to this day, from not being able to sleep at night, to the embarrassment of unveiling the news of the incident to friends and family, and finally to feeling completely disgusted and betrayed by her own body. It is time that we start taking the incidence of rape more seriously and to start instituting punishment that correlates more accurately with how the perpetrators of it should be dealt with. You can find the complete letter here.

As women we are constantly reminded to appreciate, respect, and value ourselves and our bodies. We receive these messages through television, such as in Dove commercials, and we see it on Facebook and Instagram where certain groups post with the sole purpose of promoting positive body image. With that being said, when something has horrendous as this rape case occurs and we see how lightly it is taken, it basically undermines all of those principles mentioned above. It sends the message that violation of your body without your permission is only permissible to six months in prison when you yourself have undergone years of suffering because of it. For the perpetrators, this instills the horrible notion that you can rape someone and only serve half a year in prison as punishment. If the punishment is so light, then what really stops a rapist from raping someone? Is this really the world that we want our sisters, mothers, daughters, nieces, and friends living in?

What probably bothered me the most when becoming familiar with the case was that the fact that the victim was intoxicated was continually brought up in conversation. For those of you who are not aware, women do not go and have drinks with the hope of being raped. I know that it was mentioned by Turner that the victim was rubbing his back during the party they were attending and that he may have taken this as consent for what occurred later on. Rubbing someone's back does not correspond with wanting to have sex just as women do not expect to be raped when they wear a short skirt. She wanted to wear a short skirt because she thought it was cute, not to be violated against her wishes. She had some drinks because she wanted to have a good time with her friends, not because she wanted to be blacked out behind a dumpster. This Scottish commercial is aimed at tackling women-blaming attitudes regarding rape. You can find it here.

We must stop blaming the victim and instead start asking why the perpetrator thought he had the right to rape. It should never matter if the victim was wearing a tight dress and a lot of makeup, or if she was slurring her words from having one too many drinks. Any decent man would know that being drunk is never a valid excuse to rape someone. It is 2016 and yet we are still blaming the victims of rape for something they wore, did, or said that might have caused the perpetrator to "lose control." Instead, we need to start instituting punishments that are suitable for the pain inflicted upon the victim. Since when do we prioritize the best interest over the perpetrator of rape over the victim? It is my hope that the Stanford Rape Case will at least present an opportunity for our society to really take a step back and realize how idiotically our society handles rape and to make the appropriate changes to ensure a safer, more just environment for rape victims and to instill more suitable punishments for the perpetrators.

Cover Image Credit: http://fromacloud.us/victim-blaming-isnt-just-womans-issue/

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Arizona Teachers Are Officially Walking Out, And Us Students Are Right Behind You.

Teachers aren't alone in this demand for action, and we are ready to support them by all means necessary.
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A little while ago, my teachers started wearing Red on Wednesday’s. Little did I know, that was the beginning of making history.

For the last few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of standing by my teacher’s sides every Wednesday morning to demand change. But now, it’s even more real.

When I first got word of a potential walkout, I honestly didn’t think much of it. I don’t think any student did. We all thought that a walk in would make a change happen.

On Wednesday, April 18th, an overwhelming 78% of Arizona Teachers voted yes to walking out of school until demands were met.

And now, on Thursday, April 26th, it begins.

School was canceled. No one knows what will happen. No one knows when everything will go back to normal.

But as a student, I couldn’t be more honored to be taught by so many miraculous people who are making history.

I’ve seen and heard countless reactions to the walkout from different students. Some are worried about Graduation, some are worried about AP Testing, and some really just don’t want to stay longer than the original calendar entails.

But, it’s just one year.

I don’t care if I have to stay an extra day, week, or however long is required. I don’t care if I graduate on Friday instead of Thursday. I don’t care if I don’t receive my actual diploma at my Graduation Ceremony until the missed days are made up.

It’s worth it. Little bumps in the road are nothing compared to the reward this walkout demands.

If nothing changes for teachers and schools in Arizona, then who are we to say that there will even be teachers to come in the long run?

When I was first exploring degree options, one of my first interests was Elementary Education. But that interest was short lived because I knew that the pay I would receive just wouldn’t be enough. Students like me have seen our teachers struggle for so many years, so do you really think anyone who even decides to major in Education will plan to stay in Arizona with the pay teachers receive now? No.

Not only are the teachers in Arizona walking out for themselves, but they’re walking out for the new teachers to follow who deserve better.

Us students are proud, our parents are proud, our friends and co workers are proud. Teachers are not alone. They have a strong force standing right behind them. And we will continue to stand behind them for however long it takes for things to finally change.

Cover Image Credit: Associated Press / YouTube

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