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Hate the Victim, Not the Victimizer?

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader


With recent events happening, I suppose men are a little spooked. If an incident that you were involved in when you were 17 surfaces 30 years later, it can evoke certain reactions. If you lost your swim trunks after taking a dive, youíd probably be embarrassed. Passing out in your own vomit, youíd probably remember that totally radical party right before you left for State U. Or, if a girl you physically assaulted (her version) clashes with a little fun with a nameless skank (your version), suddenly surfaces to tell her side of the story and youíre trying to get a really cool job, well, youíre probably going to be pissed.

Look, itís easy to avoid this. Donít be a douche. Donít sexually assault women. Donít touch their womanly parts; hell, donít touch them period. Men and women think of things differently; I get that. Men think they are teasing when they are actually being mean, women can come off as being flirtatious when they are just trying to be friendly. And thereís criticism from both genders when it comes to reporting sexual assault. ďWhy didnít she speak up sooner?Ē

Oh, I donít know. Maybe because she was two years old at the time, and gosh, donít all kids tell stories that arenít true? Maybe she did tell, but the person who heard the tale basically told the victim what actually happened, which was a lie in itself? ďOh no honey, that bad boy didnít touch your private place. You just think he did!Ē
If you are victimized in the United States, youíre shit out of luck. Doesnít matter if youíre a five-year-old kid with abusive parents; I guess youíre just supposed to steal the keys to your parents rusting 2000 Ford Taurus and drive it the hell out of state, change your identity, get a job and an apartment.

We hate victims in the United States. We do. We donít believe them, we think they are delusional, we think they are horrible bitches out to bring The Man down. Why donít we speak up sooner?

Because we are embarrassed. We are ashamed. We are horrified that this happened in the first place, from a trusted family friend or relative or neighbor. People have some bizarre sexual tastes, so if a kid gets victimized by someone with way out there fetishes, who would believe it if the kid said anything? And you can scare a kid pretty easily. Kids arenít exactly aware of the power adults have, or if the grown-ups are really talking shit, or if they really will burn the house down if the kid goes to another adult to chat about the weird stuff going on in the basement when Uncle Sid comes to babysit.

Victimhood isnít admirable. But itís time to stop thinking we can take advantage of people when we know we damn well shouldnít. Iím still dealing with early childhood scars that have clouded my thinking over the decades. It still means I avoid certain individuals.

And one other reason survivors donít tell is we try to forget. I put it out of my mind for a long time. Iím not sure exactly what made me think about it, but I didnít say anything about it until I was 33. Which was 31 years after it happened. I still remember the details. We donít like to think we could be put into situations like that. But people need to realize even if a victim says no, or resists, sometimes that isnít enough either. Sometimes it happens anyway.

Being a victim happens. All the self-help gurus can go on and on about creating your own destiny, but I didnít ask for it to happen. I wish it hadnít happened. I think my life would have been different had it not happened. I canít change the fact that it happened. But it did. Nothing will erase that memory. As long as there is strong and weak, victimization is going to happen. And as long as we hate the victims, and not the victimizer, or at the very least, the horrible acts that happened, the victims will choose to keep silent, because why bother? No one wants to hear it. You should have fought back. You just imagined it.
That is what Iím hearing, both from men and women, old and young. And until it happens to you, youíll never really know. So donít tell us how we are supposed to feel. And donít make us feel worse than we already do.

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