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):
The Myth of the Evil Perpetrator
Wishing the World Was Safe
The Wrong Kind of Victim
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.
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.
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:
Involved in a respectable activity at the time of victimization
Blameless in all aspects of the interaction
Victimized by an obvious offender
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.
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:
Alright, so what sites could help people better under sexual assault? Take a look at the sites below:
Mental Health…a topic that most people aren’t eager to discuss and sometimes. And due to that, it’s hard to know if there any low cost options to treat mental health issues. Like for me, if it wasn’t for fact I had Medical to get even both of my anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications they would have both cost me $100 total and that was just the generic version. However, I got them both for free. Right now the therapist I’m seeing, only costs me $10 an hour.
You be wondering how could I afford these two mental health treatments? Well fortunately, I’ve had a good psychiatrist (she was my first psychiatrist, before I couldn’t afford health insurance), I went to school and found out they have mental health services and I also know of good non-profit organizations (e.g. NAMI, RAINN), that could assist me. Because let me tell you, I know absolutely no one who could have told me about these free to low cost services. And that’s why I’m telling you. I’ve been meaning to share this with you (but if you read my last article “Depression” you’d why) but I read this article from NBC online titled, “Mental Health Services: How to get treatment if you can’t afford it” they offer some resources that can offer such mental health services for free or low-cost. These include:
Looking into either “In-Network” or federally qualified health centers
Seeking therapists who use a sliding scale. This means what you pay is based on your income
Seeing if you’re eligible for medicaid for free therapy
Looking into local training institutes that may provide free sessions for up to two years
University hospital or non-profit hospitals that are willing put students to work for a low fee
And checking out open path psychotherapy collective. I have no idea what that is, so check the link embedded in my blog
And if you have a teenager who you suspect may have a mental illness, there are resources they access to if they don’t have health insurance:
Sliding Fee Scale (just like for adults)
For more information on those, look at the link below:
I have been due to write about "13 Reasons Why" for a long, long time, but I haven't been because of the events happening in my life. Now that I'm settling into my new apartment (actually my room. It's a room I'm renting) and I've finally had the watch the WHOLE thing. Now, I can.
"13 Reasons Why" has received a LOT of cheers and jeers. Though in my opinion, it has received more jeers. As of late, I have been reading how blame is now on the show how young teens have been looking online on how to "kill themselves". Or how the show "glorifies" suicide. So here I was in my room watching the last 3 episodes and asking myself, "Where are people getting this from???" The show is about how a young girl came to end due to all the experiences she had with 12 of her classmates. There is a 13th person, but I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen the film yet.
The film though doesn't just talk about her life, but also the lives of the people who affected hers. The tapes disturbed to them had harsh truths of their actions and even to who they really were.Thoughout the series, you see the characters trying protect their own secrets from being exposed to their town. Although not ALL the characters were bullies or meant to become one, but it made sense why as they were. Some bullies were also bullies because of how the environment "worships" their talent instead of their morality.
This is mistake number one that EVERYONE, yes EVERYONE made on the show… It's rated MA. Hello??? Did ANYONE even bother reading the rating??? So as a recap, MA means "mature audiences" which means the show will feature, foul language, graphic violence, graphic sexual activity or any combination of the two." It doesn't stand for "Mighty Awesome" tv show. We have technology now that EVERYONE has access too, so there is no excuse, absolutely no excuse people can't look up stuff like this. It's easy.
TV Parental Guidelines such as this began back in 1996" to help protect kids and teens from shows that might have a negative impact on kids. The things is when people or parents or even their young kids/teenagers heard of a show "13 Reason Why" they were probably thinking of this:
Or these other classic teen movies…
(Most of all I have watched.)
Mistake, mistake, mistake. These days are not THOSE days of watching teen movies/tv shows. And "13 Reasons Why" is definitely NOT your typical teenage/angst film. I get it… the actors LOOK like teenagers (they're more like early to mid twenties), but that doesn't MEAN it's a film teens should watch. Especially on movies that "talk" a LOT about deep topics. If not outright, it's depicted. Here are those topics:
These are some pretty DEEP topics—topics that MUST be discussed with kids and definitely, cannot be discussed alone. In spite of my difficult childhood, one of the things that ALWAYS brought us together were movies and tv shows. And my dad was ALWAYS with me watching these movies. Whenever there was movie with a sex scene, like say in "The Matrix" or "Underworld 2", he'd always say, "Sex is not for kids (even though I was a teen) or "If I catch you ever have a child out of wedlock, I'll throw you out of the house."
"Okay daddy." I'd always respond. Sometimes though he'd take what he saw on tv shows and movies too seriously. Like I remember when "Pocahontas" first came into theaters (I was about 9 at the time) and there was a scene where Pocahontas and John Smith were kissing so passionately, that after my sister, myself and my dad finished watching the movie, my dad as were walking out of the movie into the parking lot was fuming! " I can't believe they would show that to young kids! That movie is definitely NOT for kids!" I remember just being so embarrassed by my dad's reaction and the reaction of other adults seeing my dad fuming at a children's movie. What I'm saying is that there are times parents need to supervise what their kids are watching. The problem is parents don't these days. I remember working at a restaurant and seeing this parent trying to keep their child calm down. So the parent got out a their ipad and the kid, of course, was silent. It is not healthy for a child to have a tv screen of some sort always be put in their face all the time. Push them to read or draw or go outside and play…something. Help them to be aware of their surroundings (because I see that inclining a LOT now days among young kids, teens AND adults). My parent always pushed me to be proactive in my life and to be aware of my surroundings. My parents always worked, especially my mom, but she was never to tired to tell me to turn of the TV or even do it herself and tell me to do something with my time. As a kid, I hated it, but as an adult I understand now and I am grateful. So, don't worry parents, your kids will understand and appreciate why put your foot down one day. Anymore than you will have to look past the screaming, whining, moaning and other forms of tempter tantrums, one day they look past them too. The thing is kids won't always know what they're watching and will NOT understand (especially with the content out these days!). So you have to be there and in a sense be ready to provide commentary on the film. If you can't, do it after, but either way do it soon, because you don't know how what they saw or heard in a movie or tv show is going to stick in their minds. It might stick in a negative way or a positive one. Heck, like me when I was young, they may have not paid any mind to it. Though, you can't think expect you'll be lucky to have a kid who won't pay much mind to these things.
I say these things especially, because if feels like now days parents don't take responsibility for anything (and could explain why some kids don't take any responsibility for their actions either). I remember not too long ago, parents were blaming Cookie Monster as to why their kids eat too many cookies/junk foods. I was like to myself, "Are you freaking kidding me??? You're blaming a muppet???" Uh, who has money to give their kids candy and all that stuff? Parents. "Who prepares the meals??? Parents. Look I'm in my 30s and I still love eating cookies (in fact my dad STILL calls me Cookie Monster)! But I love eating fruits, veges, and other forms of nutritious meals. And who introduced me such health eats? My parents.Who declined me from eating cookies and sweets when I ate too much of them? My parents.Who'd get in trouble for getting cookies when their parents told NOT to buy anymore sweets and ended up getting in BIG trouble for NOT listening to their parent's directions? Me.
Sorry I digressed. Anywho, when I worked at a bookstore, I remember ringing up books that this mother and daughter had. And one of them was "13 Reason Why". Now as being someone who at the time who had three more episodes of this show to watch, could relate with deep topics as mentioned in the movie, and IS an educator, could I ALLOW this child to read a book with content they are NOT ready for? Hell no. What I did say to the mother was although the film was good and the book may be just as good, that it provided contents too deep for child to understand. Topics on mental health/suicide and sexual assault were mentioned a LOT in the tv series. It's a show that parents should watch and discuss with their child, but if they needed help on understanding the topics themselves they should go to NAMI and/or RAINN for more information.
"Thank you for telling me." The mother said, "I'll just put that aside." She then turned to her daughter, "How could you get that book? Wasn't that the book your school emailed to all the parents saying kids should't get, because it was making your classmates very sad???" I could have sworn, (from the side of my eye) the daughter was glaring at me, but I don't want kids to feel sad after reading a book, because books especially for teens should make them happy and not well…depressed. Yeah, the novel, that the tv show was based off was banned from schools, because of it's impact kids. Damn. That's pretty deep. But I gotta admit, the actors on the show were really good. Though, I can't blame kids for being depressed. Hell, I am suffering with chronic anxiety and depression because I have experienced sexual assault, I do live with mental health issues, and I have grown up in a domestic abusive household. So, I can't blame kids for feeling depressed just seeing what these characters are on the show are going through. And let me tell you this is where schools and a parents should be stepping in, because although jr. high school and high schoolers are just teenagers, they are up and coming adults and they are starting to become more and more aware of the world and the world around them. They are not little kids anymore.
(Another hint how the show was deep. The words over the characters. You can kinda tell it was going to get serious. Read them.)
Though I will admit something. The production responsible for the tv show or perhaps Netflix itself, should have put disclaimers in the first few episodes on the content depicted and perhaps at the end referred resources on how to discuss and/or how to be aware of such situations. So far (especially the numerous complaints it had) on last two to three episodes this it what it had:
Glad they caught it, but they were a bit late.
Me personally, especially as an adult, I liked this show. I thought this a better depiction of mental health and sexual assault than most tv shows and movies do. I feel like most movies and tv shows just like just add those such topics just for entertainment purposes. I am not saying that this wasn't either, but it was more real which I think why kids (I know they are teens, but I call 'em kids any way) liked it. I also like how not only showed the main character's life before her passing, but it showed how human and vulnerable she was and I think it's important that people see that. I feel that when other people hear of those who live with mental illness and/or have survived suicide, they see them as victims of their own pain, but there's much more to it. I liked how the film captured the events and the thoughts of Hannah. She was a very deep person as I or anyone else living with mental illness would understand. The film also did show how hurting people, regardless how small their hurts are (e.g. insecurity/shame), hurt other people which something we tend to forget.
Anyways, I hope there will be a season two and I look forward to know the events that await the 13 people and how her parents find out more on what led to her death.
For more information on "13 Reasons Why", mental health, sexual assault, domestic abuse and TV parental guide lines, click on the links below: