Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Victim blaming extends beyond rape into stalking

MSNBC recently reported on a Facebook stalker who posed as a sorority alum in order to get private information from current college students. The stalker, apparently feeling he had some authority over the sorority, contacted real sorority girls, and demanded from them personal information and nude pictures, implying they would advance in their sorority if they turned over said information. While some girls refrained from sending their photos, others did. One of the victims, Ashley, went straight to the police to report what had happened. Unfortunately, the Facebook stalker has yet to be caught.

With stories like these popping up left and write, it’s important we remember we should not to blame the victims for these happenings. Even though it is recommended users refrain from putting personal information on their Facebook profiles, people are not at blame people when this information gets out. Instead, we need to catch stalkers like this one and prosecute them. They are the ones truly in the wrong.

But the problem of victim blaming extends beyond the world of Facebook stalking. When looking at rape cases, it’s important not to blame the victim for whatever happened. Our society a the habit of bringing up what a woman was wearing or the suggestive comment she made prior to being raped, and thus determines she’s fault. This tendency is ultimately degrading to both men and women. It suggests that women are just sex objects who deserve to be raped depending on outfit or speech, people ready to service men because of the mini-skirt they’re wearing. Victim blaming also harms men, though, by suggesting all they want is sex; they’re animals who can’t control themselves. We need to focus on the perpetrator's actions and avoid making assumptions about such complicated situations. Only then will an open dialogue take place, and the problems of rape, stalking and beyond be solved.

Link to original article: http://jezebel.com/5704278/sorority-girls-duped-by-pervy-facebook-stalker

—PAVE Volunteer Kristine Omen

POWA creates moving ad that challenges community

People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) recently brought recognition to the astonishing amount of domestic violence that occurs in South Africa. One in three South African men reported having committed rape, moving POWA to create an advertisement that sheds light on the high number of incidences in this area. The ad features an experiment in which a man plays his drums and in turn receives numerous noise complaints. In this same neighborhood a few days later, POWA made noise reminiscent of a couple arguing and engaging in violence. Astonishingly, unlike the drumming incident, no one reported any kind of noise disturbances or recognized the noise as an indicator of issues at hand. It is shocking to learn that community members did nothing to help the woman in jeopardy, but were quick to complain about something that posed no physical treats to themselves or other community members. Having learned this, it’s necessary we realize what we would do to help this situation. Would we help, though? Would we report the noise? Or would we stay silent, letting this happen, and reassuring ourselves that it’s not our business? It’s time to reconsider our roles as community members, actively supporting the idea that we can, and will, stop domestic violence here and around the world.

—PAVE Volunteer Kalina Seavecki