Victim blaming of women gets men off the hook
"It’s an attitude common all over the world."
Why is it that when a man rapes a woman, it’s the woman’s fault and not the man’s? This phenomenon is called victim-blaming, and is an attitude common all over the world, particularly manifested in cases of rape, incest, and other forms of sexual assault. Two recent cases of gang-rape brought this attitude to light—first, the case in Tondo where the 16-year-old victim engaged in a drinking party with seven men; second, the horrific assault on a nine-year-old in Cebu by her 40-year-old uncle and six of his construction-worker mates. The 16-year-old was blamed for putting herself in a risky situation, being the only female in a group of carousing men, and that she consented to the sex because she joined them in the first place knowing that could happen. This is another way of saying that a group of men under the influence of alcohol cannot be trusted, that they turn into depraved monsters when drunk. In the case of the nine-year-old, her uncle said she was seducing him by playing with his shorts and pulling them down, and by sitting on his lap. This presupposes that the girl at that very young age was performing a sexually overt act instead of playing a funny prank on her uncle. This is a far-fetched tumbling of the imagination and a stupid excuse on the incestuous rapist’s part. Victim-blaming contends that it is a woman’s responsibility to stay safe. Women are “told to change their own behavior in order to avoid being assaulted or raped,” says the Women’s Health Research Institute of Northwestern University. “Women are told repeatedly to dress less provocatively, drink less alcohol, and not put themselves in risky situations. This proliferates the belief that women are at fault when they are attacked, and leads to a lack of accountability for men.” There we have the ‘why’ of victim-blaming of women: It absolves men of wrongdoing on their part. That is why they point the finger—“She was asking for it.” “She was a slut.” “She was stupid to have gone drinking with a group of men.” Most men who rape know what they do is wrong. In the Tondo and Cebu crimes, not all the suspects were found immediately and some are still at large, meaning that they fled punishment.