Despite the relentless attempts of activists, women, and (most importantly) victims, there are still people in this world that blame the victim of violence and not the abuser. So for all of the children out there (children is actually an inadequate term as even children learn at a quicker pace than victim blamers) who refuse to see that the victims of rape and violence are not at fault, I have written this article: A Summary on Victim Blaming: For Children. To illustrate my point and describe this ‘difficult’ concept to those who fail to understand after years of explaining, I have decided to use the children’s fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, to make this concept more comprehendible.
Some people come away from reading Little Red Riding Hood and blame Little Red for her being eaten by the Big Bad Wolf. These ignorant people suggest that if Little Red had not been so naïve and dim-witted, she would have been able to evade the cunning of the wolf and avoid being tricked into his plan. They say that because of her ‘lack of knowledge’ she is to an extent to blame for the violence exhibited by the wolf. If this was to be translated into real life, this inferior argument suggests that if a woman had known better than to talk to a predator (who is employing deceit to make them look like they aren’t a predator) than she wouldn’t have been attacked. This logic thus makes the claim that the victim should have known better, inadequate.
Another theory held by children who believe in victim blaming that is also discredited is that Little Red wore a red cape, a colour that easily attracts attention. Her little red hood caught the eye of the wolf and attracted him to her. According to victim blamers, if Little Red didn’t want to be eaten, she should have worn a duller colour. If Little Red Riding Hood was to be set in modern reality, Little Red could simply be a girl who wore a low cut shirt while walking the streets. The notion that wearing an ‘attention grabbing’ outfit is reason enough to blame the victim for the attack is repulsive and vomit-worthy. It is hardly Little Red’s fault for wearing an outfit that apparently made it impossible for the wolf to avoid eating her.
People who blame Little Red for her attack also ignorantly believe that Little Red should not have entered the woods if she didn’t want the Big Bad Wolf to violate her. The argument that Little Red “should have known not to enter a forest filled with wolves,” is incompetent and fails to have any validity as Little Red is essentially a child who was only trying to help her sick grandmother. The fact that she was preyed upon by a wolf, who used her young age, vulnerability, and sweetness against her, serves as a metaphor for the preying upon of young girls by older men and the consequent blaming of the girls who were apparently, “asking for it” by walking near them.
And even if all of these reasons were valid (which they clearly fail to be) the wolf made the ultimate choice to eat Little Red. The abuser always makes the choice to abuse. They are not forced or lured into it by clothing choice. It is an utterly absurd concept to choose to ignore the facts that are presented in front of you, but these ‘children’ do just this. They ignore reality for ‘alternative truths’ because it suits them better to be correct in an argument than morally correct.
And yes, he is a wolf in this story, but I am only using this tale as an extended metaphor for the real life situation of victim blaming. Abusers are not wolves in the sense that wolves have to hunt to survive. We are humans and have the power to choose against violence. But even when the rapists and abusers choose violence, society justifies it by blaming the victim. What kind of society are we if we allow for this horrendous occurrence? What kind of society are we if we allow abusers to walk free and instead shame the victim for their clothing choices?
Not a very good one, if you ask me.
But there is certainly hope. There is certainly light. If Little Red can escape from the stomach of the wolf so can we. And I hope that we can all learn from this children’s tale and grow up. We can stop this wrong, we can stop this ignorance. We just have to keep trying.
Written by Darcy Campbell, Editor-in-Chief of The Restless Times
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