Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

The myth of silence

When rape escape shames survivors....

A piece ran in the Daily Mail today about a woman who fought off a would be rapist. Good for her I thought, glad she was able to. But the taste soured in my mouth when I read that she encourages all women to fight back against their attackers.

How does a 3 year old girl fight off a 6'1 man she calls Daddy?
How does an 8 year old girl fight off the men she has been sold too?
How does a 15 year old girl fight off a man with a knife to her throat?
How does a 26 year old woman fight off a man who threatens to kill everyone she holds dear?
How does any woman who freezes fight off their attacker?

"If you didn't fight back, it's not your fault" - my therapist must say that to me at least once a session. "

Some other important things to note:
"It's still rape if you didn't fight back".
"It's still rape if your body responds to what happens"
"It's still rape if you said no and he carried on"
"It's still rape if you couldn't say anything"

Victim blaming is rife in society at the moment. The media takes a sensationalist view of historical abuse, publishing pictures and videos of the "celebrity" abusers with no thought for how that affects survivors. It takes a morbid delight in shouting about "false rape" claims. All sorts of deluded figures who try to define rape. And all that does is silence us all over again.

Help us speak out, help us find our voices. I applaud you for getting away. I detest you for trapping others in the silent prison.

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2 thoughts on “The myth of silence

  • zak jane keir says:

    I appreciate that many victims are unable to fight back and that doesn’t make it any less rape. But also I can see this woman’s point in that women are often told we are always going to be powerless against men, and still advised not to fight a rapist, when sometimes it is possible to fight and escape (if you are fit and strong, if he’s drunk and unarmed – obviously it’s not always going to be possible). Perhaps she feels that saying it CAN be done may help some other women feel stronger.

    • Admin says:

      A woman’s reaction at the time of a rape or incidence of sexual violence is the right one for her, at that time.

      In my experience as a survivor, and working with others who have experienced sexual violence, any suggestion that we should/must/can behave differently when faced with sexual violence contributes to victim blaming. It also contributes to the myth of ‘good’ ‘bad’ or ‘more deserving’ victims.

      Anyone telling women how to behave in response to sexual violence (or the threat of it) contributes to rape culture.