Charmed: Switches and Stones (AKA: Medusa’s Revenge, AKA: The Bystander Effect)

 

Image result for medusa

Source: Vice

 

The Sad Untold Story of Medusa

I’m sure you’ve heard about the story of Medusa. You know… the woman who was cursed because she was beautiful and then ended up having snakes heads for hair and with just one look, she’d turn her victims into stone. The only way she could be stopped, by cutting off her head. But have you heard of the real…story about WHY she was really cursed?

The whole thing started when Medusa, a mortal, was raped by Posideon because she was beautiful. The thing it was happening in Athena’s place of worship and Athena cursed Medusa into a monster. Anyone see the problem with this? This whole time, even through pop culture, she was this evil monster, who in every story had her head cut off and her killer was named a hero. However, she was victim of rape and victim blaming. And here I thought that Athena was supposed to be the goddess of wisdom.

In an episode of Charmed, titled “Switches and Stones”, Maggie, Mel, and Macy find a case of men who are turned into stone. This all happening during the time of Maggie’s Kappa Rush time and…during the time Maggie and Mel switched bodies by accident due to a magic spell. The sister’s figure it’s a magical creature, Medusa, who is turning people, mostly guys, to stone. But they are wondering, why…

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Huh how interesting…a demon helping victims of slut shaming, makes you wonder who is worse humans or monsters? I mean…it’s one thing being the person who starts slut shaming, but another to be a bystander.  The bystander effect according to Psychology Today, occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.

Bystander Effect

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So what is a bystander? According to Google, a bystander is someone (or a group of people) who is present at an event or incident, but does not take part. Other words for bystander include onlooker. But then…there is an interesting term called “Bystander Effect.” So what is the “Bystander Effect?” The bystander effect occurs when  the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation (Psychology Today, n.d). In the case of the scene, the students were looking at the pics on their phone. So the question is then why what would cause students who clearly saw disturbing pictures of girls to do practically nothing. A chart from another Psychology Today article explains this (Burn, n.d.):

Barriers to Bystander Intervention

Again in the case of the students in the show, I wanna say they were “engaged” in numbers 2,3, and 5. The kids seemed fascinated more with the pictures and the shock value, rather than to call out (especially in front of their peers) a wrongdoing. In emergency situations where there four or more bystanders, only 31% will help (Gaille, 2017). In this case, that’s Mel, Maggie, and Macy out of all the people who are at the Kappa Rush party. Disappointing.

Non-Consensual Photo Sharing

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So sad. She had summon a demon to stand up for her, because other people wouldn’t. I can’t imagine the distress anyone would go through when going something like THAT, ESPECIALLY  after telling the abuser NOT to send the picture. The act that the girl’s abuser is called, “Non-Consensual Photo Sharing”. What constitutes as “Non-Consensual Photo Sharing” is (Breakthrough, n.d.):

  • Taking intimate photos or video without consent
  • Sharing intimate photos or videos taken with consent-and the reasonable expectation of privacy-and sharing them without consent
  • Sharing photos or videos with the intention of humiliating, degrading, or harassing someone
  • Using coercive behavior to obtain intimate photos or videos
  • Taking and sharing photos or videos of sexual assault
  • Unsolicited photo and video sharing as harassment

Consent

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That’s the unfortunate thing slut shaming does…it causes low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and relationship disturbances. Whatever form sexual assault/harassment comes in, “No” ALWAYS means “No”. To not respect, is well…sexual assault/harassment. In the case of the girl. So what is consent? It must be:

  • Clear
  • Coherent
  • Willing
  • Ongoing

So, the pictures of the girl were not given by her consent.

Image result for what is consent

Source: SUNO

 

Victim Shaming

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When we as a people engage in victim blaming, we are basically ostracizing them…saying their story doesn’t matter. When we say things like (“How To,” n.d.):

  • She asked for it
  • It wasn’t really rape
  • He didn’t mean to
  • She wanted it
  • She lied
  • Rape is a trivial event
  • Rape is a deviant event

Victims are already going through so much in themselves:  shame, low self-esteem, hopelessness/helplessness, denial or minimizing what had happened to them and fear of the consequences if they do report what happened to them, especially if their assaulter is rich and powerful (Engel,  2017).

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How to Help Victims of Sexual Assault

Definitely, what can be a help is by carefully wording what we say (“Tips for, n.d):

  • “I believe you”./ “It took you a lot of courage to me about this.”
  • “It’s not your fault.”/ “You didn’t do anything to deserve this.”
  • “You are not alone.” /”I care about you and I am here to listen or help in anyway I can.”
  • “I’m sorry this happened”/ “This shouldn’t have happened to you.”

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Other Reasons Why People Don’t Step In

 There are some other reasons why people remain bystanders:

  • “[The] situations present that create more danger to a perceived situation, such as having a perpetrator present.
  • “[S]omeone will only choose to act if the potential reward is greater than the known risk.
  • “The costs of an intervention being physical in nature is one of the greatest attenuations of the bystander effect.”
  • “The more we live in cities and are part of crowds, the problems of ignoring the plight of individuals, of communities and groups will remain with us, unless we address it proactively.”
  • I liked how Maggie…well, Mel (who was in Maggie’s body), talked about what happened to one of the rushees who was assaulted even though she was afraid (for Maggie’s sake at least) she might lose her place as a Kappa Rushee. Luckily that didn’t happened
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    What Else Can Be Done To Help Sexual Assault Victims

    There are plenty of ways to help victims of sexual assault with having to do anything uber heroic.

    RAINN suggests:

    • Avoiding Judgement
    • Check in periodically with them
    • Knowing your resources- This includes knowing the RAINN hotline: (800) 273-HOPE (4673), knowing the National Suicide Provider Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255), but most importantly…remind them to do good self-care

    If you want to intervene there are some things that can be used to protect and help you (Gaille, 2017):

    • “Many communities have enacted Good Samaritan laws that require people to help when they see an emergency situation or a legal penalty, including jail time in some jurisdictions, may result.”
    • “Training programs that give people certain skills to better recognize an emergency situation can help spur action when they see it happen for real outside of the classroom.”
    • “Rewards and other protections have been instituted in different industries and environments to protect whistleblowers and heighten the need for ongoing activism.”

    If you or someone you know is undergoing any form of nonconsensual photo sharing contact the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Hotline number below:

    Image result for CCRI CRISIS HELPLINE

    You can also visit the CCRI website for more details:

    Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

    Reference

    Breakthrough. (n.d.) Understanding Non-Consensual Photo Sharing. Retrieved from: https://us.breakthrough.tv/resources/understanding-non-consensual-photo-sharing/

    Burn, Shawn Megan. (n.d.) “A Situational Model of Sexual Assault Prevention Through Bystander Intervention.” Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/124123/situational-model-sexual-assault-prevention-through-bystande.pdf

    Engle, Beverly. (2017). Why Don’t Victims of Sexual Harasssment Come Foward Sooner? Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-compassion-chronicles/201711/why-dont-victims-sexual-harassment-come-forward-sooner

    Gaille, Brandon. (2017)17 Exceptional Bystander Effect Statistics. Retrieved from: https://brandongaille.com/16-exceptional-bystander-effect-statistics/

    Harvard Law School Halt. (n.d.) How To Avoid Victim Blaming. Retrieved from: https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/halt/how-to-avoid-victim-blaming/

    Psychology Today.”Bystander Effect” (n.d.). Retrieved from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bystander-effect

     RAINN. “Tips for Talking with Survivors of Sexual Assault.” (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-talking-survivors-sexual-assault

    More Reading

    “Bystander Effect’ and Sexual Assault: What The Research Says

    “It’s Victimization”: Push Grows To Charge Onlookers Who Tape Sexual Assaults

    Punish The Onlookers

    The Effects of Slut Shaming on Teen Girls

    The Time I Totally Failed to Stand Up to a Street Harasser

    The Timeless Myth of Medusa, a Rape Victim Turned Into a Monster

    R. Kelly, Part 6: Victim Shaming

    Dr Luke’s Lawyer: “But again, there are people that are falsely accused of rape, aren’t there? You think there has never been a false accusation of rape?”

    Lady Gaga: How about all of the women that are accused of being liars and how she was slut shamed in front of the world, how about that?

    Lady Gaga fighting for Kesha against her former music producer Dr. LukeFrom the online article: How Can Sexual Abuse Survivors get Justice When the System fails them?

     

    I don’t really get the whole thing about victim shaming. No…it’s not that I don’t know what it is, but rather..why does society blame the victim? Why does society seem to crucify the people who need the most help? The victims who presented themselves on the Lifetime show, “Surviving R. Kelly” and even on the Dateline Special, “R.Kelly: Accused” are viewed pretty much as TV whores….women who are vying for their 15 minutes of fame and to gain money. However, after even listening to clips of their stories, I believed them, especially when they talked how it affected their lives, because I know how my incident affected mine.

    So in a definition context, what is victim shaming? According to Wikipedia (I just loved how they perfectly defined it), “Victim Shaming or victim blaming “occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befalls them.” Why is that? It’s because compared to a robbery, the victim is more to their assaulter.

    Here are some other reasons why people disbelieve survivors (Whiting, 2019):

    1. The Myth of the Evil Perpetrator
    2. Wishing the World Was Safe
    3. The Wrong Kind of Victim
    4. Confusion and Self-Blame

    The Myth of the Evil Perpetrator

    This is guy that everyone understates. Why? One could be his socioeconomic status…meaning he’s rich….he’s successful. He has an outstanding reputation…the guy that everyone loves…the guy everyone knows and trusts. He’s the “nice guy” and this “nice guy” is either good looking or they are someone you’d even trust your children with.They’d never do such heinous things.

    Example:

    Larry Nassar, the now disgraced USA Gymnastics national team doctor and osteopathic physician for Michigan State University, was someone who well-known for being generous, selfless, and committed. He was known for his goofy charm and steadfast service, that when the young girls tried to report his actions , their cries were often ignored. And it didn’t help either since he was known for “women’s pelvic issues” which was helpful for common injuries that were faced in gymnastics, he would rebuke the girl’s cries of his sexual advances by saying they misunderstood his “technique”.

    Wishing the World Was Safe

    I guess for some people ignorance really is bliss for some people while still having this “I could have seen it a mile a way” attitude. Well, of course they could. If after I’ve heard someone story without having being in the situation myself,  of course, I would have seen it coming. Researchers call this the “hindsight effect.” In one study, research participants read different versions of a story. One group of participant read a version where a character was raped at the end, while the other group head the netural ending. The first group displayed a bias toward their character after picking up on clues from the story hence leading towards the “I knew it all along” bias where the listening audience  may make the situation being told them “predictable” or “easy” when really…. it wasn’t.

    Example:

    In Mississippi, a woman was raped on a Biloxi Bay Bridge when she went out running. Even though she reported the assault and was treated and tested local hospital, people still had something to say about the incident: “I would not run alone that late at night, especially being a woman. Go during daylight or with a running buddy” and “It’s dark at  6 p.m. what was was she even doing alone walking on the bridge?”

    The Wrong Kind of Victim

    Or what is called, “ideal victim” is where the victim must fit these five characteristics:

    1. Weak/vulnerable
    2. Involved in a respectable activity at the time of victimization
    3. Blameless in all aspects of the interaction
    4. Victimized by an obvious offender
    5.  Someone who does not know the offender

    Example: If a person fights back, is not dressing in the right way, is intoxicated or if the accused is someone they know, their story is more likely to be questioned or doubted

    4. Confusion and Self-Blame

    Here the victim may either accept that the blame their perpetrator is placing on them or feel a deep shame for allowing the abuse to keep happening or for being at the wrong place or for not getting away.

    Examples:

    One of Larry Nassar’s early victims, Larissa Boyce, while trusting in her coach who found her claim upsetting, then was told by her coach, that if she reported about the incident it would have “very serious consequences” for both Nassar and herself. Terrified at this possibility, Larissa end up eventually crying and apologizing to Nassar, saying it was a “misunderstanding and all her fault”.

    So, how can people  know what sexual assault is? Educate themselves. It’s as School House Rocky says, because:

    Image result for schoolhouse rock knowledge is power gif

    Sorry had to put a lighthearted gif, to such a tough topic. And I don’t know about you, but Schoolhouse Rock always put a smile on my face 😀

    Alright, so what sites could help people better under sexual assault? Take a look at the sites below:

    No More

    NSVRC

    Planned Parenthood

    RAINN

    Reach Out (Australia)

    The Survivors Trust (UK)

    Victims Connect

    Victims of Crime

    Victims Support (UK)

    1 in 6

    If you live outside of the U.S. and know of any anti-sexual assault organiation in your nation, if you can message me, so I can put in this post. Thank you!

    References

    “How Denial and Victim Blaming Keep Sexual Assault Hidden”. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/love-lies-and-conflict/201901/how-denial-and-victim-blaming-keep-sexual-assault-hidden

    Victim Blaming. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victim_blaming

    More Readings

    Amber Heard: I Spoke Up Against Sexual Violence and Faced Our Culture’s Wrath

    Ex-Baylor Frat President Indicted On 4 Counts of Sexual Assault Won’t Go To Prison

    The Veil of Silence is Lifted for Black Women Thanks to R. Kelly Docuseries

    The Hearing That Forced The World To Listen To Larry Nassar’s Survivors

    Why Do Sexual Assault Victims Wait So Long To Speak Out? Take A Look At The Comments Section

    7 ways parents can protect kids from child sexual abuse

    This online news article is NOT wrong about parents having talks about the 7 topics stated in the link below

    Learn how to protect children from sexual abuse and sexual assault after seeing the “Leaving Neverland” documentary about Michael Jackson and sexual abuse.
    — Read on www.today.com/parents/7-ways-parents-can-protect-kids-child-sexual-abuse-t150029