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18th October 2016

Did they really “have it coming”?

Victim blaming still remains as a lazy attempt to simplify the actions of criminals

The robbery of Kim Kardashian has dominated news platforms and social media over the recent weeks. Why should it not? The news coverage of an attack on a celebrity should be expected, given their potential status. What was not expected was the public’s response to the attack. Kim Kardashian has become a victim of victim blaming, something that has become so sickeningly common and acceptable within our society.

To recap on the attack, Kim Kardashian was visiting France to attend the fashion shows of the Paris Fashion Week. Whilst staying at one of the apartments of the highly-exclusive Hôtel de Pourtalès, she was bound, gagged and held at gunpoint by robbers dressed as policemen as they stole millions of pounds worth of jewellery.

A lot of negativity towards Mrs Kardashian was immediately plastered all over the internet. The most common phrases included “she got what was coming to her,” “she was asking for it,” and “she got what she deserved.” There were a few reasons as to why people made these claims. Some of these negative comments derived from people’s general dislike of the star. A lot of negative stigma still to this day exists because of the leaking of her sex tape many years ago.

However, the primary reason that people have used to justify these shocking opinions is the fact that Kim Kardashian openly shares her expensive and lavish lifestyle and possessions with the public, whether it is on her family’s reality TV show or on her social media accounts.

This justification seems frighteningly familiar to me. To blame Kim Kardashian for her attack because she, as some would say, ‘shows off’ her wealth is the same as saying a female rape victim “got what they deserved” because she decided to wear a short skirt to show off her legs or to wear a low cut top to show off her cleavage. The principle of both these situations is the same, and the sooner that people start to realise this, the better.

No one should have to be the victim of a crime because someone else desired what they have. No one should have to restrict how they live their life with the fear that someone else might try and take it from them. It appears that, as a society, we find it easier to look for a much simpler explanation to such crimes, rather than addressing the real problem at hand. To blame the victim has become a common answer because they are the ones that are publicly exposed, as opposed to the perpetrator. This is an absurd concept.

This idea of victim blaming can be brought closer to home if we use this idea to address the number of rapes that have occurred recently in Manchester. I moved to Manchester in September 2014, and within the first month of me living here, over thirty student rapes were reported to the police.

This problem has not been adequately tackled. A few weeks ago, a woman was raped in the city centre. Women are constantly being urged to follow particular precautions, whether it is by friends, parents, members of university staff, or even the police. Women are advised to travel in groups, to walk in well-lit areas, and to let someone know that they are on their way home.

I understand that we do not live in a perfectly peaceful world and that sadly, there are some people out there that strive to hurt others. It is because of this that we are sometimes left with no other option than to attempt to take our protection into our own hands. However, this advice given to women insinuates a few things: if you walk home alone and you are raped, it is your fault; or, if you walk down a dark street and you are raped, it is your fault. This should not be the case.

Members of our society can claim that a woman walking alone down a quiet street after having a few cocktails in a bar whilst wearing her favourite mini skirt and high heels was “asking” to be raped. Such as crime is the fault of no one other than the person that committed it. Why is this not so blatantly obvious?

To not address victim blaming as a common value of our society allows it to continue. It forces further suffering onto victims—someone who instead should be receiving our support and help. Regardless of your personal thoughts and opinions on Kim Kardashian, she did not deserve to experience the attack that she did. None of her life choices or actions are justifiable reasons as to why she was the victim of such a hateful crime. She did not deserve what happened to her just as no rape victim has ever deserved what happened to them.

Victim blaming must be put to a stop. But before it can be stopped, it must be recognised. Do you recognise it?


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