Victim blaming

It’s never okay to say ‘I told you so’

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Thursday that her department will be reviewing guidelines put in place under Obama regarding the process of reporting sexual assault, paying particularly close attention to allowing the accused due process. Department of Education official photo

Victim blaming is a regular part of rape culture and is probably one of the easiest parts to ignore. 

It comes naturally and with tons of fallacies attached. It stems from the inability to comprehend what it means to be sexually assaulted or the inability to understand why it happened. 

People search for patterns in order to figure out why bad things happen to good people. We often hear the excuses that comment on the victim’s clothing, alcohol consumption or attending parties and honestly, I’m sick of every last one of them. 

But what really makes me nauseous is the idea that someone would have the audacity to say these comments to a victim. Where is your sense of humanity or sensitivity? 

The latest conversation that sparked my enragement came from a peer who thought that it would be helpful to tell a victim not to make the same mistakes again. 

Baffled and stunned by this, I’d like to remind everyone of the severe PTSD that comes after someone is sexually assaulted. According to RAINN, a website dedicated to preventing sexual assault and aiding survivors of sexual assault, 94 percent of women who are raped experience symptoms of PTSD. 

What makes you think that they’d take those same steps again, even though they weren’t wrong in the first place? 

Also, making comments like that isn’t going to be supportive, it’s only going to hurt them further. 

And waiting for the ‘right time?’ I don’t think so. People don’t heal at a linear pace, especially after such a traumatic experience that alters your life forever. It’s not like a broken leg where you can get your cast off in a few months. You could wait six months, a year, five years or even ten years to make these comments but in the end, they wouldn’t help anyone. 

Be supportive—it’s really not that hard. If someone comes to you and says they’ve been sexually assaulted, believe them.