Victim Blaming

Victim-Blaming Isn't Just a "Woman's Issue"

Recently, a San Francisco bartender was assaulted with a hammer by an Uber driver and woke up in the hospital. While this horrific event is adding to the discussion about the new tech transport companies that have sprung up in the past 2 or so years, there is another issue at hand here: Victim blaming.

The article I read discussed potential lawsuits and liability of the companies that hire these drivers, but what stayed with me were some of the comments on the story. The passenger used the UberX in San Francisco with friends, but remembered nothing of the evening or the ensuing trauma when he awoke in the hospital with his head bashed in. He risks losing an eye due to the attack. This struck me as such a randomly terrible event that I assumed most people would empathize with the victim. Surprisingly, however, I found that there were many people who didn’t.

Something happened to provoke the driver.

That bartender looks like a UFC fighter.

Sounds more like somebody had a genuine reason to plonk that big husky bartender on the head.

All of this victim-blaming and the accompanying language is exactly what rape victims experience when going public with their experiences. His strong appearance invalidates this assault because he looks tough and strong.

She was dressed like a slut. Why didn’t she protect herself?

He provoked the driver is equivalent to she was asking for it.

I will never understand people who automatically assume a victim (of any crime) is lying when there are no facts to prove such assumptions. So many people can’t possibly have personally experienced being wrongfully accused of a crime before. Therefore, I doubt the assumptions typically come from personal experience.

Knee-jerk reactions that question the victim are not only harmful to the victims, but to our society as well. After all, where is the incentive to stop hurting people when society automatically sides with the perpetrator?

Micaela Gardner

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