No Victim Blaming, No Slut Shaming

I was thinking of writing a longer post about slut shaming. But I found plenty of people had already done it really well.  One of the pieces I read recently that I especially like was a letter by Rehtaeh Parson’s dad. (Rehtaeh Parsons was the young Canadian woman who committed suicide after the relentless bullying and shaming she experiences after she was raped and the rapists texted photos of the rape around her school.)

I have really nothing new to add to the long list of reasons why victim blaming is crazy–and crazy-making–nor why it makes no sense that young men’s consensual sexual exploration is “normal” but young women are “sluts” for the same behavior.

So I just want to say that I am trying to have the same attitude about myself and my own experiences: No victim blaming. It wasn’t my fault. Having weak boundaries is not the same as permission to misuse me. It’s easier to believe this about other people, but let’s be honest.  What’s the difference between me and other people? I don’t deserve either higher or lower standards than anyone else. So I don’t deserve more blame than I would put on any other person for going through what I went through.

If you are struggling with your own shame from your own abuse, I hope you can tell yourself the same thing. Don’t blame yourself.

The photo isn’t mine – I found it on Pinterest, actually. But the woman in the photo is awesome.

 

11 thoughts on “No Victim Blaming, No Slut Shaming

  1. I have a problem with the term slut-shaming. I find the term odd, you are basically calling a woman a slut and then telling others not to shame her for being a slut but calling her a slut suggests you deep down consider her to be a slut as opposed to a “woman” or better yet, a person. I think this term and mindset actually thwarts real progress for women overcoming shame. I wish social media would abandon shaming campaigns all together. Good luck on your journey within, you are on the right track and I hope you find peace and healing.

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    • I picked up the term “slut shaming” because I’ve seen it online and heard it on the radio recently. I wondered about using it because I think the term “slut” itself is so problematic. But I don’t think the term slut shaming accepts the definition of “slut” and instead tries to say the whole act of calling a woman a slut as a way to shame her is messed up. Here’s one definition:

      “slut-shaming is the act of attempting to make a woman or girl feel guilty for certain sexual behaviors, circumstances, or desires that deviate from traditional gender expectations. Some examples of circumstances where women are “slut-shamed” include violating accepted dress codes, requesting access to birth control, having premarital, casual, or promiscuous sex, or being raped or otherwise sexually assaulted (which is also known as victim blaming).

      So to me it feels like you can use the term slut-shaming to describe something you don’t agree with, including the label “slut.” But you think that even so, it’s still a problem? You’ve given me something to think about.

      I know at various times when my head’s been in very dark spaces, I’ve applied the term “slut” to myself in very hurtful ways. So it helps me to say slut-shaming is wrong and I won’t do it to anyone, including myself.

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      • Well I hope you indeed stop applying the label to yourself in a hurtful way but then again don’t be so hard on yourself for applying the label. I personally don’t use the term slut shaming. Sluts are like unicorns, they don’t exist. A woman is not a slut, she is a person, even if she wears what others call provocative clothing and even if she has slept with 32 men, a person. I refuse to use the term, I am not a slut, nor are women who want birth control pills or are recovering from violent crimes such as rape, I am a human being. I will not accept their shame again. I will never give power to someone who shames others for anything ever again. I will not attempt to shame another person knowing how it blackens the soul. You are a person, a beautiful person. Your post is a move into the direction of empowerment and you can use whatever terminology you want but remember that it may be reinforcing the very concept you are trying to break. You are a person, you never were a slut, and you should not be shamed for ANYTHING. Hugs to you and may you continue on the path to bring your head into the light from the darkness imposed on it by others.

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  2. I never could understand slut shaming, I still can’t. And fool that I was, I used to think that everyone around me thought the same. Only when I brought the topic up did I find what people in general believe. It still boggles my mind. Lawyers in India defending alleged rapists have been known to allege that the victim was a prostitute or someone with “a loose character” aka Slut. I always had one question to ask and no one’s really answered it when I’ve countered similar claims from them with the same question. “Even if she is a prostitute or a slut, so? How does that justify rape?” I don’t know, maybe I’m not fit for public consumption..

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    • You are totally right – rape is rape and has nothing to do with the behavior or dress or intoxication of the person who has been raped. I am also surprised that this view is still so common.

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          • If someone drinks too much of their own accord and end up in bed with someone they regret so much in the morning that they claim rape on the basis of diminished capacity then that same rationale could be claimed by drunk drivers running over a pedestrian. I’m not talking about someone slipping a woman a Mickey to get her drunk and violate her, date-rape happens, but if you get drunk and make wrong choices, then accept the consequences of the same. What do you think?

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          • I guess I think that if people have too much to drink, their capacity to make decisions is weakened, and the most respectful thing for a potential partner to do is to wait for another day to be sure that there is true consent. I think I especially feel this way about young people who are away at college, who are fairly new to both alcohol and sexual relationships and may not even really know what they want yet. Because they may not be very experienced with alcohol, they often don’t know how much is too much until they’ve hit that point.

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          • I agree they don’t, but does that absolve them of the responsibility too? Isn’t that a slippery slope? if a young woman in college can get too drunk to make the wrong choice and sleep with someone, the young man can, too. Again, not talking about date-rape,

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