This comment is by Nadine, to Archy, on the post “Rape Culture: What it is and how it works?”
Is there ever a circumstance where the victim shoulders some of the blame/responsibility for their assault? For me the answer is no. Blame is assigned when someone has done wrong. And I don’t believe that being raped/assaulted = doing something wrong.
Let’s use your example of the person who has had so much to drink they’ve passed out. I think it’s fair to have a discussion about excessive alcohol consumption, but that’s separate from the “this is why you were sexually assaulted” conversation. Being very drunk is not what makes a person get raped. It’s the person who decides they’re going to rape. And for the record, that rapist is entirely different from you when almost hit someone who’d passed out in the street.
In that situation you were a driver. The road was exactly where you were supposed to be. You were doing what doing. If you had, under those circumstances, accidentally hit that person I wouldn’t blame you for hurting them. That’s not a choice you made. I would hold thevictim largely responsible because they can’t expect that there won’t be cars on the road. That’s what the road is for.
The other difference, for me, is that when you saw that drunk and passed out in the road, you (I asummed) put on your breaks. You did everything you could to avoid hurting them. You did NOT say “Sweet! A vulnerable person who can’t protect themselves! I’m going to take advantage of this and run them over with my car!”
If someone had a black eye because they had passed out at a party and someone purposely punched them in the face while they were unconscious, I feel like the general reaction would be “What a violent awful thing to do to someone!” I don’t think most people would say, “It is wrong that this poor person got punched but he has to assume some of the blame for blacking out.”
I don’t think we can hold a victim responsible for being raped. You can’t hold someone responsible for another person’s decision. And raping someone is decision. It’s not an accident, or the inevitable consequence of back alleys and wild parties. It’s a conscious choice to do something super-shitty to someone else. So when it comes to who’s responsible I don’t care where the victim was what they were doing or how drunk they were. The choice to violate someone’s body is the rapist’s alone. That’s where the blame belongs.
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