Why We Need To Stop Victim Blaming

Why We Need To Stop Victim Blaming

The importance of tackling victim-blaming behavior.

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.

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When Your Enough Just Isn't Enough

Do what you can, and God will do what you can't.

Have you ever felt like your enough just isn’t… enough? I feel like often times, even in smaller situations, we belittle the greatness that we can achieve because of our own personal thoughts or what others lead us to believe. It’s like, yeah, I wrote this paper, but did I really put my all into it? Or, yeah, I did my Bible study, but was my heart really into it?

It’s times like this when I must sit back and remember that God is God and He knows every depth and shallow I’ve been through! Lately I’ve found myself wondering if I’ve been doing enough to follow my calling properly, or even if I’ve done enough to please God. Sometimes doing what you want to do for God can be disheartening because rejection and a whole lotta “no”s come along with it. The outcome will always be pleasurable, but the journey to reach out to someone’s heart can be difficult. 

Hebrews 10:36 (NIV) says “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” 

To me, this verse is saying, “Do what YOU can, and God will do what you can’t.” 

Is that not amazing to think about? We have the honor of having a God that will never leave our side. Receiving your calling and attempting to do the best to please God can be difficult – there’s no doubt about it. God never said it would be easy, but He did reassure us that He wasn’t going to leave us behind. Whether your passion for God is to sing, minister, be a missionary, or absolutely anything, do what you can and God will do the rest – with your drive, of course. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve backed out of opportunities or denied my calling to others, just because of how selfish I am about it. I felt like my enough wasn’t enough! But, if we’re doing what God wants, under Him and for Him, He will be pleased. That’s the beauty of it all!

So next time you feel like you’re not doing enough, take a step back and look at what’s in front of you. 

Are you doing what you can so that God can do what you can’t? 

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Black British Viewpoint On The H&M Ad

Why his mother is unbothered? And why South African Protestors are?

You've seen it everywhere. A photo of this beautiful Black Boy wearing a sweater (aka Jumper) stating "cutest monkey in the jungle". Now many people immediately expressed outrage about the entire situation but when I saw this, my original response was as follows:

And it seems that the boys mother agrees with me:

“[I] am the mum, and this is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modeled. Stop crying wolf all the time, [it’s] an unnecessary issue here. Get over it.. That’s my son, [I’ve] been to all photoshoots and this was not an exception. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about this… I really don’t understand but not [because I’m] choosing not to, but because it’s not my way of thinking. Sorry.

THE AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IS DIFFERENT TO THE AFRO CARIBBEAN EXPERIENCE

A fellow Brit writes:


Like this commenter mentioned, I've heard white and black parents in the UK refer to their kids as a cheeky monkey. You see before moving to the USA, I use to say all the time "racism DOES NOT exist". Yeah don't get me wrong I'd experience two moments that I remember, that had a slight racial bias attached to it. But it was two separate incidents in the twenty-something years of my life. It was really nothing. Scrap that maybe three. After all my family is multiracial. Many family members includng my uncle, brother in law, cousins in law are white and my lineage is mixed. I could go to a pub meet a white person or a person of any other race, and have a deep meaningful conversation about a plethora of issues with no judgment and feel like there really is a deep connection and acceptance. Heck, I could have that conversation at a bus stop.

My family member writes:


It's not the same in the USA. It's a constant barrage of judgment, of questioning everything and every experience. From the moment you walk out of your door, you could be subjected to multiple incidences of racist bias that leave you raw and unable to know how to process or to cope. ou leave your house and if in an affluent neighborhood, your neighbors can make you feel like you don't belong.Y You walk into your nearby Krogers, where until you are labeled as ok, you could be followed all around the store on a daily basis. You see your neighbors who do not acknowledge and often do things that let you know, you are un-welcomed (you don't belong) in your very own neighborhood. You go to work, where you are isolated and made to feel that it was not designed for you. Where you micromanaged and made to feel less than in so many ways. You drive home from work where if you are a black man, one false move could be the end of your life.

You see, the African American experience is one that dehumanizes you. It has become so polarized that it's difficult to even know which way to look. I mean my daughter was subjected to bullying with a racial element, at the age of 4. FOUR years old. It's heart-wrenching and just unacceptable. I can go to an event be it a birthday party or a school led event where everyone knows me, but many if not all at times, choose to not speak to me. It's a brutal experience.


Opposing views


Another view:


HERE'S MY POINT

The experiences are so different that I honestly can relate why for the Swedish black Mum took no issue with the sweater/jumper or the ad. But I also being black in America where it is common to dehumanize black people, and where this subjection is daily and constant can understand why there is such outrage and why many people take offense. There is a school of thought out there that believe H&M did this on purpose. That this was an opportunity to gain free publicity. I truly hope not. Either way I shout You Cannot Define Me, I am Beautiful, Learned, Adorable, Capable a King (aka BLACK) for that little boy. I also understand why those in South Africa protested to the point that H&M has had to close its door.

The divisive nature of the country, nay, the world needs to get on a better track if we are truly to move forward. When will we learn?I really and truly just don't get it. Let me know your thoughts?

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