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Dec 10, 2010
Victim Blaming, its not just for sexual assault anymore!!!! It seems that there is also a victim blaming problem when it comes to dealing with bullying. These tropes are along the lines of "You shouldn’t be so fat", "You should act more like a boy/girl", "You shouldn’t be autistic", and the list goes on. If you ever wonder why I’ve taken a lot of time to create a baseline for an Anti-Bullying Bill Of Rights in PA, now you know?
Consider my last Sunday at that wretched boarding school in Madison, CT!!! I wake up in my dorm and discover that fishing line is ran throughout the bathroom to prevent me from going in. I bring it to the attention of the administrator, and he blows me off and blames me for something inconsequential. Then later that night, the same dormmate who perpetrated the fishing line incident hucked a water bottle at me with a fishing gaffe. I try to tell a staff member, but…well, he doesn’t take it seriously….and his actions leave me having even worse post-traumatic stress disorder than I already would have had.
Victim blaming was par for the course at that place. When I was 16, I was in the boy’s health class and as a class assignment, we were split up into three teams and we had a contest to see which team could come up with the most sexual slang terms for female anatomy. We had been beaten by another team during the male anatomy part, and we made a comment. When the teacher declared we won, I made a comment that only a 16 year old hormone drenched boy would say in front of other hormone drenched boys. This one student who was totally an asshole to me, said something to the effect of, "the only reason you know so much about pussy is because you go into your little sister’s room at night" (note: my little sister has microencephaly and is, for lack of better terms, in a vegetative state). The two gym instructor’s response, silence.
This past Saturday…was the 10 year anniversary of being admitted to that school. And tonight, is the anniversary of a really bad night. You see, I was living in the only 4 person bedroom on that campus, and one of my roommates (who was on the bottom of the bunk I was on) was coming back from a trip to Long Island. He had gotten into trouble for something, and he decided to just plain go crazy. He then made me go "bunk surfing" (the mechanics of which are too complicated to explain here). When the dorm staff came in, he didn’t take any action.
In most cases, silence to these events indicates that the person in charge is blaming the victim and doesn’t want to say it. But you know, even in the case of private schools, they need to have anti-bullying policies too.
We need to foster a culture of respecting all body images, not fat camp, a respect for all colors of the rainbow, not "straight eye for the queer guy".
Please remember that victim blaming is a trigger of post-trauma, not just for rape, but other types of atrocities as well, and that it can KILL!!!
If you stand up FOR a bully, you are just as much a victim blamer as someone who says "if you hadn’t worn that skirt, then you wouldn’t have been raped"