It's Saturday, a day of rest for many, sadly not for me today. I am sitting myself down to do a load of coursework whilst knowing that others are in Poland, Brighton, or just down the road on Southampton Common having fun. That's okay though, as I know that in a few weeks I will be at a festival I love.
But, this isn't the reason for my early morning blog post, oh no. This morning I am in rant mode and I would apologise for it, but this is important - which is why I am taking a few minutes from my work to write about it.
"Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially responsible for the harm that befell them. The study of victimology seeks to mitigate the perception of victims as responsible."
Many of you may have heard (no pun intended) or seen about the allegations actor Amber Heard has made towards her (soon to be ex) husband, Johnny Depp, regarding physical abuse. If you've not read about it, believe me, it's all over the internet. Type in either of their names and you will get results.
Now, I have been a huge Johnny Depp fan for years and have always considered him an Idol as his work (as well as many others) is what spurred on my interest in film. Though none of us know the full story behind him and Amber Heard I think it is disgusting that people are calling her a liar. Abuse, be it physical or emotional, should not be taking lightly and for people to start calling Amber Heard a liar only encourages a culture which is already quick to victim blame. Not all of our idols are heroes. Just because we see them in the spotlight being charming and successful it does not give us reason to automatically assume that they are good people, people who will do no wrong, because at the end of the day, they are just that, people. Just like you and me, and with this comes the reality that everyone has it in them to be a bad person. As I said, none of us know the full story and I refuse to believe a lot of what I read in the media, however, this is a serious subject and one which people need to take a hell of a lot more seriously. When we hear about Rolf Harris or Bill Cosby being accused of raping or sexually abusing people we are the first to call them scumbags and insist that they lock them up and throw away the key. This is no different. Abuse is abuse and I am sick to death of people victim blaming because the situation and allegations don't suit them!
The continual problems around victim blaming make me sick to my stomach as I have experienced this hate first hand. A few years ago I was the victim (now survivor) of sexual assault..rape. I won't go in to all the gory details. I was one of the very few lucky ones who the courts decided to listen to, and believe, because guess what? I wasn't lying. This didn't stop (and I know it's still happening now) others from butting their noses in and making my life a living hell, to a point of wanting to either run as far away as possible or completely give up.
The thing is, none of us will never know the full story between a victim and their abuser(s) so NO ONE has the right to immediately suggest that someone is lying. We already live in a rape culture where it's 'hilarious' to joke about abuse, be it mental or physical, and we encourage younger generations to believe that this is fine! What is wrong with our species, seriously? If this was someone you knew, would you act the same? Even if you had doubts would you be on the internet writing vicious attacks?
Photos by me from slutwalk in oxford, 2013
I'm sure that due to the high increase in Depp fans after POTC, if it were him stating that he had been abused then Amber Heard would still be the one being harrassed. "Oh my god, she's such a bitch!", "Urgh, I can't believe he married her anyway."
It's a sick, sad world which sadly will never change, but each and everyone one of us can at least attempt to. It's all about educating people, and those who do not wish to learn can basically fuck off.
There are some links below for those of you who are interested in helping to learn more about these subjects, to help share awareness, or may even be a victim yourself or know of someone who is. I can be contact via my email firstname.lastname@example.org for anyone who would like to talk privately.
Rape Crisis England & Wales
Break the cycle