Just a few days ago, I was in a taxi being driven from an airport in Cairns. The driver and I were having a friendly chat about Cairns, when he mentioned the fact that a female German backpacker was recently assaulted in town. Apparently, she was followed out of a bar and down the road, where she was attacked.
The driver went on to comment about how stupid this woman was, and what did she expect walking home by herself? Well I figure she sure as hell wasn’t expecting to be assaulted in a beautiful Australian town; and just because she perhaps let her guard down, that doesn’t mean she should be judged. It always disturbs me that people will go on about how stupid women are for getting into this sort of situation – shouldn’t we be judging the perpetrators? Why do people always go on about what the woman should have done? About the way the woman should have dressed? Why aren’t we talking about how horrible the people who did this are?
Or, right, because we live in a misogynistic, patriarchal world where victim blaming is the norm. Sigh. It’s something that seems to have been around forever and isn’t going away any time soon. One can feel powerless against it… speechless.
But today I spoke up. I said to the taxi driver “Well, we all do stupid things sometimes but does that mean we should be attacked for it?” That wasn’t much to say, I kept an even tone to my voice and did not reveal the depths of my anger and frustration simply because I didn’t feel it would be a constructive method of changing his viewpoint.
The taxi driver fell silent and I’ll never know if my short little question will make any difference whatsoever, probably not, but I felt proud of myself for speaking up nevertheless. It can be tempting not to comment on these things, one doesn’t want to be a stick in the mud, but I felt so good to have done so and intend to continue to speak up when I get a chance in the future. Not to preach, but to help put another viewpoint out there.
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