Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Internalised Victim Blaming and Mixed Messages

I recently noticed a thread on another website about street harrassment. Within
this thread there was lots of different advice from different posters. However
i found some of the advice and the context within incredibly worrying.

The advice ranged from, appearing more confident in public so you will at
least reduce the risk of harassment to dressing down on public transport.

I posted on the thread in question and i got a mixed reaction. Some posters
agreed with me and some didnt. One in particular was quite vitriolic in
insisting that the advice that ive mentioned above is not victim blaming and
that I had better be careful about labelling it as such.

These ingrained attitudes concern me greatly. Because of the mixed messages it
conveys.

On the Womens Aid website and other help and advice sites concerning domestic
abuse it clearly states that if a woman has to change her personality or
demeanour to avoid physical or emotional abuse from her partner then it is
domestic abuse.

So why on earth is there a different attitude in society when it comes to
women going out and about their daily business whether it be to work,shopping ,
a night out or using public transport.

If we tell our daughters,sisters, nieces ,friends to change the way they dress
or change their demeanour or appear more confident when out and about to avoid
street harassment and abuse, surely we cant be too surprised when they carry
this advice and these messages into their relationships too.

This is giving out mixed messages and in my opinion just another way of laying
blame at the victims door.

Surely if we are going to change attitudes towards victim blaming then we need
to be consistent about it right across the board in all these situations.
Victim blaming is unaccceptable whether the abuse comes from a partner or from
a stranger on the street.

We very much need to be consistent in the messages that we convey. Because
victim blaming in this way is every bit as unacceptable as the abuse is.

Download this post as PDF? Click here Download PDF

Comments are currently closed.

2 thoughts on “Internalised Victim Blaming and Mixed Messages