Rebecca talks about Victim Blaming in the New York Times

Victim blaming is when a situation happens and people blame the victim when in fact it isn’t their fault. It’s most commonly seen with domestic violence, rape and such abuse cases. Victim blaming can not only damage the victim mentally. It also normalizes the situation and makes things seem as if the person “had it coming”. When people blame the victim in domestic violence relationships it can convince the person to stay with their abuser because they think they’re in the wrong and then the abuse cycle can continue. Victim blaming can happen in rape cases, too.  In a lot of media woman are portrayed as if it’s there fault for not dressing properly or because they didn’t watch their back. So because of that they are too afraid to tell people they were assaulted.

In the New York Times they published  an article about a gang rape of an 11-year old girl in an abandoned trailer in Texas. It was recorded on cell phone video by the assailants, but the New York Times seemed to justify their excuse that the assailants said the girl seemed older and dressed like she was in her 20s.   As if that gave a group of men from middle school to age 27 a reason to have sex with her one after another. What bothered me the most about the article was how the author went on for 3 pages talking about what the environment was like.  The author went on for a long time about things that didn’t really matter, like what the abandoned trailer where the assault took place looked like. By talking about the town and the abandoned trailer, it set the scene that this girl was less than nothing, and it created distance between the victim and the average reader of the New York Times.  People in the community were quoted as blaming the girl’s mom instead of the men who actually did this to her.    The article also said, “she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.  She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground.”  If the girl or her mother read this article, they would likely feel that this was their fault.  But it’s not.  The blame is on the eighteen men who raped her.   There was no resolution, no closure to the article. This is just crazy to me. How someone can lure people in with headlines and exploit the story for the whole world to see and end it up in the air, because that just makes it seem like what ends up happening to the girl doesn’t matter.   Extreme cases like this, where an 11 year old girl is raped by 18 people, makes headlines, but sexual assault happens all the time to women all around the world. but Its only made a big deal out of when a drastic case happens, and then the victim is blamed. Things like this create “rape culture”.  It can hold women down and normalizes these horrible situations.  If something like this were to happen to me, I’d rather no one know about it instead of being in the New York Times, especially because the blame doesn’t go where it belongs – to the rapists.

-Rebecca

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