It’s time to ditch every-day victim blaming

Earlier this month we heard of a 14 year old girls being sexually assaulted by four men who approached her at a park on Paramount Crescent in the Geelong suburb of St Albans Park. A number of text messages from ABC reporters questioned why the girl was in a park at 4 am in the morning. Detective Senior Sergeant Jason Walsh, from Victoria Police’s Sexual Crime Squad was amazed people question sexual assault victims. He said  ‘we question girls and we question their behaviour when we don’t even ask, ‘what’s four blokes out doing, allegedly sexually assaulting a young girl?”

Telling a girl not to walk alone at night is the wrong conversation to be having. Survivors need our support and compassion. A sexual assault victim does not need to be put on trial for what was done to her. When we do that we make sexual assault about ‘sex’- sexual assault is not about sex, but about power and control, pure and simple. When we blame victims, for example, she should watch where she walks, that she should have been dressed more modestly, that she just attracts men who hurt her because of her character etc, we are enabling the perpetrators of these acts and facilitating a safe space in which they can operate. This is the problem with rape culture, with violence culture. Let’s put an end to victim blaming and lay the responsibility squarely where it rightfully belongs – with perpetrators.