Opinion: Victim blaming has gotten out of hand, needs to be stopped

Austin Mann

Kevin Griffin

Austin MannSexual abuse is unfortunately an ongoing topic in American media.

This time, it hits a bit closer to home with the case of UNC-Chapel Hill student Landen Gambill.

According to the NY Daily News, Gambill is being charged with an honor court violation at UNC by creating an “intimidating environment” for her accused rapist. In other words, the very organs of the university that were supposed to help her are now punishing her for speaking out about her sexual assault.

There is a very problematic sector of American society that is always prone to misogyny, and that sector of society rears its ugly head here as well. A Voice for Men and NC Fathers are two organizations that have attacked Gambill for speaking out about her sexual assault.

There is a lot of victim blaming by those who doubt Gambill’s story. They make claims, such as she isn’t a survivor because she wasn’t assaulted by an armed assailant, according to the Digital Journal. Any person who has been assaulted, sexually or non-sexually, is a survivor and the manner of assault doesn’t devalue that assault at all.

Another thing is that these same people blame Gambill for staying in an abusive relationship. What these people don’t understand is that it isn’t easy to walk away from such relationships.

Abuse isn’t always easy to identify, and usually it is even harder for the victim to escape. Victims often feel trapped by their abuser and find it impossible to leave. It isn’t right for society to judge them for staying in such a relationship, but to help them get out of it and to move on.

Gambill’s detractors have no idea about the power relations between men and women, and from what I have seen, have no intent to learn. No one asks to be raped, and it is insulting to the survivors that some even suggest that she was asking for it or that it was her fault.

Mann, a freshman computer science major from Raleigh, is an opinion writer.