Listen Up World, We Need to Stop Victim Blaming

The Silence Breakers who spoke up against their abusers were collectively named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year.  

2017 was a powerful year for people, mainly women, calling out men who allegedly committed sexual misconduct. Huge male figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. Ed Westwick, and Dustin Hoffman were all put on the spot.

Every 90 seconds someone in the United States is assaulted which means more than 570 people experience sexual violence everyday in our country.  

With all of the cases in Hollywood that let men get away with sexual violence, the epidemic may grow because everyday Americans may lead by their example.

But, it’s not just men that are the issue. The Voice singer, Melanie Martinez, was accused of raping her former friend, Timothy Heller. Martinez, 22, denied the accusations. But compared to all of the claims that came out against the men in Hollywood, social media users were actually defending Martinez. Maybe it’s because she’s a woman, maybe it’s because she has loyal fans, but defending a rapist is not the right thing to do, especially when most of the men have been shamed and fired.

Heller was under fire too when she posted a photo on Instagram with her tied up on the bed next to a woman and the caption read “Chill night with my besties.” That photo offended many survivors of sexual violence and she later took the post down.

So why is there an equal amount of hate and support for the abuser? Well, some Americans may be fans of the alleged rapists and don’t want to believe the allegations. Others may think people who speak out are in it for the money. Some may think that it is okay to treat others that way because prestigious men and women are doing, even our president.

No matter the excuse, victim blaming is never the right thing to do.

Recently, there have been feuds between author J.K. Rowling and some Harry Potter fans. Johnny Depp was cast in the new Fantastic Beasts movie as Gellert Grindelwald. Depp has been accused by ex-wife, Amber Heard, for abusing her. This claim is up in the air because Heard blamed her previous exes of abuse. Depp is still slated to star in the 2018 sequel.

This begs the question: should the Hollywood abusers lose their jobs because of the allegations? Should there be a trail? Should there be a bigger punishment, like jail time?

It has to be incredibly hard for the survivor to come out and say they were assaulted or harassed. They may be afraid of the repercussions from their abusers. They may be embarrassed to say they were abused. Survivors may have tried to speak out before, but their claims were just swept under the rug, especially if the abuser is a big Hollywood Elite. And there’s always the fear that people might not believe them.

So, please if someone reaches out to you or speaks out about what happened, support them.

To all of the survivors of sexual or any kind of violence, I support you. You are so brave and are changing the world. Thank you for speaking up.