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End the toxic culture of victim blaming

  • Published at 12:00 am November 27th, 2016
End the toxic culture of victim blaming

There is a sickness within our society.

The numbers are horrifying, and on the rise. More women have fallen victim to murder, rape, acid attacks, and other forms of assault this year than they have in past years.

But that is not the whole story. Experts say the numbers, high as they are, do not give the whole picture -- as much as two thirds of women do not report these crimes to the police, and so they go unnoticed, unpunished.

And therein lies the sickness. Because of our twisted and retrograde attitudes towards women’s autonomy and victimhood, as a society we consistently fail to support women who come forward to report abuse.

Such women are often blamed for crimes committed against them, furthering their victimisation, and deterring them from reporting future crimes.

Society also constantly downplays the gravity of things like violence and sexual assault. It is often seen as a matter that is best swept under the rug.

Directly and indirectly, these behaviours not only protect abusers, they embolden them.

It is high time we treat this malaise. A large part of the solution is to have a system in place where women feel comfortable coming forward to talk to law enforcement officers.

This entails having all-women police stations, more female police officers everywhere, and better training for police.

Domestic violence must be treated as a crime, not a private affair.

Ultimately though, our entire mind-set must change. Quite often, it is members of the victim’s own family who try to silence the issue, and discourage her from reporting abuse.

Finally, we need to be having more constructive conversations about stalking and abuse.

Pretending they do not exist, and pretending they are no big deal, are what perpetuate the problem.

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