William Ryan coined the term “blaming the victim” in 1971 in his book Blaming the Victim. He describes victim blaming as an ideology to justify racism and other social injustices. Victim blaming seems to happen when it is a crime involving certain things like rape and racism. When is the line crossed between blaming the victim and the victim being completely reckless with how he or she behaves, where he or she is at, and what he or she is doing?
A year ago it seemed like every other day here at Illinois State we were getting alerts saying that someone had been assaulted or violated in some way. This year luckily we have not seen as many. Recently there was an armed robbery on campus, under the overpass of College and Main St at 4 o’clock in the morning. Wondering why someone would be walking home under an overpass at 4 in the morning, is that considered victim blaming or is it just a generalized question?
I personally think that anyone should be able to walk anywhere at anytime and not be fearful of what is going to happen, but unfortunately we do not live in that type of society. I feel as though people should make smarter decisions and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
I feel as though there should be a type of rape shield law in most crimes, so that the officers, prosecutors, and judges can be more open minded and see the case for what it is. The person that was assaulted at 4 a.m., instead of badgering the victim asking them why they were walking home at that time, and why they went under an overpass at night, they should be asking what the offender looked like, where the offender went, what the offender said—etc. Questions would be more accurate and would better help assist the possible arrest of suspects instead of making the victim feel as though they did something wrong.