Ponderances and contemplations

Where does personal responsibility fit into the discussion of victim blame, slut shaming, and the like? As a human, one does not deserve to be raped, abused, or mishandled in any way, yet if one chooses to get stupid drunk at a frat party…, or stays in an abusive relationship…, or knowingly takes the narcotic…etc.?  (this is actually a snippet of a much larger thought I’ve mulled for years now. But because I struggle to formulate words of non-fiction, I haven’t developed it into anything)

How or where do the children fit in to this? At what age is one expected to take responsibility for their actions, their decisions, and the consequences there of?

Once on that train of thought, I pull into the “can I sleep with myself if I think of rape / abuse / etc. as a ‘consequence of poor personal choices’?” station.  Which tends to be a dark and often desolate place. Especially at night…or right after I’ve over heard the news.  Isn’t this just another form of shaming and blaming the victim?

There’s another station along this route, the “how do I justify my feelings about the death penalty?” It’s not as chilling as the other stop, but it’s just as dark. When I stop here, I’m left to listen as one part of me asks “is it right that we chose who deserves to die?”, while another part of me adamantly screams, “anyone who murders should themselves be murdered.”  The one side counters with, “but what about cases of self-defense, or the unjust way innocent people are judged guilty based on the skimpiest of evidence just because they’re black / female / poor?”  I’m never at that station long enough to hear who wins.

My head’s starting to hurt.

3 thoughts on “Ponderances and contemplations

  1. It doesn’t take long for anyone considering their positions on things to find internal contradictions.

    The death penalty is one of them for me too. The visceral part of me thinks there is some non-specific line that gets crossed that deserves the death penalty.
    But the rational part of my brain looks at the big picture and thinks – as a society should we be doing this? Is this the direction I want civilization to take?

    Our brains are often the wild west of contradictions – but the people who recognize it and can face that are the best of us.
    Because people who don’t recognize that the world is not simple, is not black and white and that there is always another side to the story – those people are terrifying.

  2. I too ponder these topics a lot! All I’ve come up with so far is there are no good answers. I’m certainly a huge fan of personal responsibility b/c I feel like the flip side of it is that we have the power to truly change our lives & become the best we can be . . . As far as the rape thing goes, I feel like if both parties are drunk, then neither the man or the woman can truly consent, so in that case neither one can truly claim rape. Of course if a man intentionally drugs a woman without her knowledge, that is a completely different (& horrifying) story. While I do not approve of men “taking advantage” of drunk women, I must admit that women who intentionally go out & get drunk, knowing they may regret the decisions they make while drunk, greatly puzzle me. To me if you CHOOSE to get drunk & in that drunkenness decide to sleep with someone, that’s still your choice that you’re responsible for, & you shouldn’t just scream rape b/c you wake up in the morning & regret what you’ve done. On the other hand, if you’re so drunk you’re completely passed out & obviously cannot consent, then any man who chooses to sleep with you is clearly committing rape. But there are so many gray areas . . . It’s definitely not an easy subject. Those are just some of the ideas I’ve arrived at after much pondering.

  3. OUr trains run parallel or on the same track I think. I don’t think that being the victim of rape is ever the victim’s fault. However, and of course you knew there would be that disclaimer.
    One of the things my parents, and I’m sure yours as well instilled in us personal responsibility. Along with situational awareness. My mother had strong ideas, some of which I didn’t agree with, and fought her tooth and nail on, but I will say that she was insistent upon instilling in my siblings and myself a sense of personal responsibility.
    It’s never the fault of the victim for the actions of another, however we have as our personal responsibility to carry ourselves with dignity and pride. That means as a woman, that we do not parade around scantily clad, wearing revealing clothing that represent ourselves as “easy”. Having curves and a nice shape doesn’t mean that you show off everything you have to anybody that has eyes. I know this is fly in the face of our culture but the way I was raised, you reserve the body skimming low cut dress with the slit cut up to the top of the thigh for the one man that respects you and cares for you. AGAin, I know. . . old fashioned thinking.
    Is it a woman’s fault that a mandoesn’t control his own actions and gives in to his baser nature? Not at all. But we can certainly not present ourselves as the willing target of depravity. We can wear attractive clothing that accentuates our beauty while maintaining our dignity that tells those around us – this is no cheap hoochy mama, this is a high class broad. OK, ignore the crudeness of that but you get the point of what I am saying right?
    Situational awareness was something my mother always reminded me of. If you are out in the woods hunting, you aren’t going to be wearing a shimmering designer gown. If you are cleaning the house you aren’t going to be wearing that new blouse that hugs in all the right places. If you on a date with that guy taht cauught your eye, you aren’t going to be wearing your house slippers and fuzzy sleep pants.
    Thank goodness we aren’t in the dark ages where it was sinful for a woman to reveal an ankle or her neck – God, I would have died! I can’t stand crew necks or turtle necks – I would have been stoned for sure! We live in a great time instead but we owe ourselves the self respect to protect ourselves, and carry ourselves with the self dignity that says “I am of value!”
    I know rape and other crimes happen, but we can give ourselves edvery opportunity to not be the victim. I pity the fool that would ever try to rape, attack or in any way victimize me. That individual should seek exit from our nation because all the forces of our police and military would not protect him against the wrath of this woman!
    Bottom line it’s not a woman’s fault that a man gives into depravity but we can take precautionary measures that we aren’t their victim.

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