I think more often than not we place blame on the victim. We force the victim to prove their innocence. When, in actuality, we should have the perpetrator or the accused prove their innocence.
‘Victim,’ in itself is such a scary and helpless word. By definition, it is “one that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent.” It’s more than a word; it’s an automatic name given to those who are put in circumstances beyond their control.
Take, for instance, Donald Trump’s words on the recent Charlottesville attack. Instead of simply mourning the attack and acknowledging the harm that it caused- Trump instantly placed blame on both sides.
During a statement to reporters at Trump Tower, the president said, “I think there is blame on both sides. You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”
While I understand it is in his nature to be blunt, honest, and firm- it is important to first consider the travesty of the attack.
The Bill Cosby trial is yet another example of the ‘victim blame game’ gone wrong. A great deal of women accused Cosby of sexual conduct spanning back 50 years ago. Instead of simply listening and understanding the women’s stories, the defense and general public were quick to question the credibility of the victims. Instantly, asking questions like, “Why did you wait”? “Why didn’t you tell anyone”? Victims wait precisely because of questions like this. CNN host and reporter, Don Lemon asked one alleged victim why she didn’t bite back during her attack. Her response was perfect. She essentially ‘didn’t want to get killed.’
There are indeed three sides to a story: victim, accused, and the truth. The truth is the central goal or desired side, but we can never know the truth if we are not willing to listen.