A confessor on truu rationalized our tendency to blame the victim when a tragedy strikes. We say things like “only truly terrible parents would bring a three month old to a movie theater,” because we cling to the belief that being “good” parents makes it less likely for our children to get shot.
If they had guns, the shooter would be dead right now, not them. Because we want to believe that if we have the ability to defend ourselves, tear gas and kevlar won’t matter. We’ll be safe.
This tendency has been seen in several different topics on the board lately. Rape confessions about how if a woman had dressed a different way, or been in a safer neighborhood, or drank non caffeinated soda, or any other random useless detail then she wouldn’t have been raped.
It makes us feel safe. Because if we don’t dress that way, walk that way, go to that place, nothing bad will ever happen to us.
The problem is, we’re not safer when we blame the victim. We’re in more danger than ever. We leave our three month olds with a babysitter, and that means she’s safe. We dress a certain way and have a drink with a trusted friend. We carry that gun. Then we cry and scream and rage when bad things happen anyway. It’s not fair. No one saw it coming. We knew that babysitter. Everyone always said that friend was the nicest guy. We shot in the dark and we missed.
We’re not safe. We never have been. There are is no magic list to follow that will keep the evil at bay. And when something does happen, the thing we need most is kept from us. Compassion. Because instead of supporting each other, we’re too busy going down the list to see what they did wrong, so we can be safe.
I don’t expect many comments on this blog. The topic is a bit of a downer. But if you’ve ever been a victim, and the people who should have offered you a shoulder to cry on turned their backs and judged you, post it here. We won’t judge. If you’ve ever blamed the victim when you should have been there, post it here. And if you can think of anything encouraging to say to those families in Aurora, who I’m sure wish more than anything in the world they hadn’t made the choices that led them to theater that night, and who are hearing every single day what they could have done different, post them here.
We can’t rewrite humanity, but we can offer this small blog as a place for us to come together and support the victims instead of pointing out how they were to blame.