If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve probably noticed the online outrage earlier this month following the ‘Steubenville rape case.’ Although the defendents were convicted of the crime, the media continued to portray them in a sympathetic light, reporting on how difficult it was to watch the trial of these high school football players, with (I quote) “such promising futures”. Another news channel broadcast the victim’s real name, leading to an innocent girl being subjected to even more mental pain, including disgusting hate mail.
The trial and media coverage has sparked outrage across the US & UK, and even further afield. Sexual assault and harassment are some of the only crimes where many victims are actively or unconsciously blamed, sometimes even more so than the perpetrator.
In the Maldives, a 15 year old rape survivor has been sentenced to public whipping. The court say she must be flogged for ‘sex outside marriage’. Read more here. President Waheed of the Maldives had been feeling a lot of pressure from around the globe to save the girl and spare other victims from this brutality. We urge you to sign this online petition
The victim-blaming culture needs to end. We cannot move forward as a society whilst many people have these views on how women should behave to ‘not be raped or sexually harassed’. It’s about time that men are taught from a young age how not to sexually assault or harass another human being.
Because of course, women are human beings too, not just objects. It does not matter how short her skirt is, how intoxicated she is, if you think she’s been flirting with you, if she’s said yes before… No means no.
This is by no means a slur on men. All young people should be taught about consent, before it’s too late to make a change.
If you’ve been affected by sexual violence of any kind, the people at Rape Crisis are here to help. Rape Crisis (England and Wales) is a registered charity and the national umbrella organisation for Rape Crisis Centres across the country. We support the work of local centres and aim to develop new centres in areas where there are no or few specialist services. The Rape Crisis freephone number is 0808 802 9999.
April 3rd has been labelled as International Day Against Victim-Blaming.