Read some of the comments to this article, if you dare.

The story is about a 17 year old Canadian girl who hung herself.  She claimed to have been gang-raped when she was 15, but no charges were ever brought and apparently she was harrassed on social media and elsewhere.  People calling her a “slut”, among other things.

What a horrible story.  How it engenders anything in a reader other than profound sadness I don’t know, but people seem to have a lot of opinions, and quite remarkably lots of people appear to have little sympathy for the girl and blame her, at 15, for “putting herself in a situation” where she could be raped.

At 15.

I’m trying to fathom these opinions.  I can’t.  The idea that bad things happen to you only because you have brought them on yourself has run away with many peoples’ minds to such an extent that they can read an incredibly tragic story featuring a dead teenager and consider that an occasion to direct criticism at the teenager for alleged mistakes she made as a child that led to her suffering and death.

This is not reasoning of any discernible kind.  The closest thing to an explanation of it I can find is that our society has become mired in a “positivity cult” fostered by snake-oil salesmen/guru types, taking root in a warped and ill-defined Protestantism.  It has grotesque “victim blaming” as an intellectual corollary, although of course I use the term “intellectual” advisedly.  This is evidently what is on display in the comments to that CNN article.

This is utterly pathological.  Primitive and superstitious, akin to magical thinking.  In rational terms it completely misconstrues cause and effect.  In human and moral terms it bespeaks a shocking “empathy deficit”, as Barbara Ehrenreich notes here.

Sometimes you just feel like despairing.  Sigh.



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2 responses to “Troubling

  1. Speaks volumes about the interaction between society’s, media’s and criminal justice system’s attitude towards sexual abuse in general. This is something I have a particular interest in and will eventually articulate at length. It appears sexual abuse is only “conceded” either when the substance of evidence or the amount of evidence is irrefutable, and even when the evidence is irrefutable, misogynist notions of “culpability” are often employed to downplay the incidence of sexual abuse in all its forms – what is that agenda about? Who is protected by such side-lining?? Please continue to keep ears peeled for any other cases of this nature that are not as media-seized. Thanks.


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