“What If We Treated All Crimes Like We Treat Sexual Assault?”

Posted on August 18, 2015 in Gender-Based Violence, Society, Staff Picks, Taboos

By Shreena Thakore

No Country For Women‘s digital campaign ‘What If We Treated All Crimes Like We Treat Sexual Assault?’  uses humour to illustrate the problematic responses to cases of sexual assault. Each piece satirizes a different type of victim-blaming by depicting how ridiculous these rhetorics would sound if applied to any other crime.

The most common responses to sexual assault broadly fall into 5 main categories:

1. Infantilising the victim and depicting the crime as a result of the victim’s naivete.

# 1 Infantilising the victim
2. Accusing the victim of false allegations and defaming them.

#2 Accusing The Victim of Lying
3. Criticising the victim for not living in a perpetual state of hyper-vigilance where they constantly expect and prepare for a crime to be committed against them.

#3 Blaming The Victim For Not Expecting The Crime (1)
4. Hijacking victimhood by dismissing the victim’s voice, shifting focus onto irrelevant entities and/or sympathizing with the perpetrator.

#4 Hijacking Victimhood
5. Appealing to sentiments of nationalism and diverting the conversation from the incident at hand.

#5 Defending National Pride

Such arguments trivialize sexual assault, delegitimize its significance, and/or straightaway dismiss it. They add to the existing stigma that survivors experience and prevent a critical and informed inspection of the crime.