Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Why Don’t Perpetrators Have Agency?

This week, I've been watching discussions on Facebook and Twitter talk about the "agency" of a teenage girl in her grooming, kidnapping, and rape by her teacher Jeremy Forrest.

A 15 year old girl was groomed, kidnapped and raped by her teacher; a man she was supposed to be able to trust. Instead of discussing the horrific abuse of power by Jeremy Forrest, people are talking about the "agency" of a 15 year old girl in her own abuse. Instead of using the term sexual predator or rapist to describe Forrest, we are discussing the "agency" of his victim.

Where are the discussions about Forrest's agency? Why are we discussing the "agency" of a teenage girl and not the agency of the man who chose to kidnap and rape her. Why aren't we focussing on the choices made by an adult? Why are we trying to cast a teenage girl as responsible for her own rape?

We need to stop using the term agency when talking about sexual abuse. Agency implies that the victims were in some way responsible for their own abuse. The only person who has "agency" in this situation is Jeremy Forrest.

Jeremy Forrest groomed a child. He chose to groom a child. He chose to rape a child.

Jeremy Forrest is a sexual predator. That is the story.

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