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AIBU - victim blaming.

(15 Posts)
Givemecoffeeplease Tue 08-Sep-15 11:14:58

The murderer of Karen Buckley has just been sentenced to 23 years after murdering her and disposing of her body after she accepted a lift home with him after a night in a club. I hope he has a beyond-miserable time in prison.

I more than understand that what happened to her was in no way at all her fault. She is a victim, he is the criminal. However the recent Chrissie Hynde debate has made me question this - it's clear with hindsight that she should not have got in the car with him, and that is the advice I would give to friends and DDs. That still doesn't make it her fault - BUT it clearly was the wrong decision and as a story illustrates the perils of stranger danger at any age. How do you explain that she was a blameless victim in this, but she made a bad choice on the night, without it coming out as victim-blaming?

Just to say again for the record and to avoid a flaming, this was HIS crime not hers, and I don't give a monkeys what she said/did/was wearing etc. She was innocent and what happened was very very sad. I hope her poor family take some peace from his 23 year sentence.

AuntieStella Tue 08-Sep-15 11:21:58

It's like it's not your fault if you catch a cold. The causative pathogen is responsible. But you can do things that make yourself (and your friends) less vulnerable - binning tissues, washing hands a lot etc.

So crime prevention, in the general sense, is something that people need to know about.

But just like precautions against catching a cold, it's not fail safe and it in no way makes you responsible for the circulation of a pathogen.

worldgonecrazy Tue 08-Sep-15 11:28:22

AuntieStella I have been trying to think for ages of an understandable analogy for this situation, and you have written a perfect one. Thank you.

DoJo Tue 08-Sep-15 11:31:28

I think it's a question of bad luck as well - I did a lot of stupid things as a teenager and young person, and I was lucky that none of them ended in tragedy, whereas I would like to hope that my son will not have to rely on good fortune to keep him safe as I can't bear the idea of him putting himself in some of the positions I was lucky enough to survive.

You can make all the right decisions and still find yourself the victim of crime; you can make terrible decisions and come out of it all unscathed. The only consistent cause of crime is criminals, but being able to recognise behaviour which is more likely to indicate someone with bad intentions can help you to avoid them if you have any choice over the matter.

ZeldaTheWindBreaker Tue 08-Sep-15 11:34:41

To be honest, this man could have murdered her anywhere. It just so happened to be in his car. If she didn't agree to go to the car with him, he could have dragged her to an alley and murdered her there instead. A person like that won't be stopped just because somebody exercised 'stranger danger' and didn't go into a car with them.

If Karen had stayed with her friends, the man would have just gone and did it to somebody else. He had no motive as such. he didn't know Karen prior to the attack. So there's no reason why it had to be her. She was just there. And if she wasn't, it would have been somebody else.

I think it's all well and good talking to our children about stranger danger. But we cannot teach them to be wary of everyone. We all talk to strangers everyday. It is impossible to function in modern society without trusting the strangers around us not to harm us.

I walk home alone in the dark quite a bit. I'm often stopped by lone men asking me for the time. I'm very wary that this could be a ploy to engage me in conversation for malicious reasons, such as stealing my phone when I bring it out to check the time, so I'm more alert than usual when in this sort of situation. So yes, I'm exercising some stranger danger awareness but I'm also not excluding myself from engaging with strangers. Imagine what the world would be like if we did that.

Everybody is a stranger at first. We aren't born knowing everyone.

If people want to go off with strangers/have one night stands etc - that is their choice. And i'd bet the vast majority of people who have done this (me included) have had a great time. The chance of being murdered, however slim, is there of course. But it's also there when walking home from work along a quiet street in the dark, stone cold sober.

I just think it's easier to victim blame the woman in such situations when she has been drinking. As if it's somehow her fault that she was murdered.

I wonder if the situation was different. Imagine if Karen had just been walking home home from uni alone one dark evening, and met Pacteau in the street. And he murdered her. I wonder if there would be less victim blaming if alcohol and a night out wasn't involved?

Givemecoffeeplease Tue 08-Sep-15 11:39:49

Thanks for your wise words - You are so right. Twisted humans are always twisted and will find a victim somehow. And the cold analogy is great. Poor Karen. Like a PP says, it could have been anyone of us who has ever made a dodgy decision....

Birdsgottafly Tue 08-Sep-15 11:42:09

I hope the woman that he raped and assaulted, but was wrongly aquitted, also will now get closer.

He was always going to kill, so in cases like this, the usual safeguards about staying together, being vigilant for each other, isn't Victim blaming, it's preventing yourself from becoming a Victim.

UrbaneFox Tue 08-Sep-15 11:44:15

I didn't know that she had got in to his car. BUT, she had lost her bag hadn't she? I think I remember reading that she tried to get back in to the club to try and find her bag. The poor woman was separated from her friends, she'd no keys, no money, and somebody persuaded her to get in to his car.......................

Birdsgottafly Tue 08-Sep-15 11:54:09

Her intentions/whys/wherefore don't really matter, he was looking to kill that night.

He was stalking another woman, when Karen came onto his radar.

She made what turned out to be a error of judgement, but, as said, it's one most of us have made.

Doublebubblebubble Tue 08-Sep-15 11:59:22

this was HIS crime not hers

He decided to murder a person. that is exactly it. Had she not got in the car he could have easily grabbed someone off of the street... Would you be asking the same question if he had of done that. asking why they were there....

I think like the Chrissie hynde statement it is just easier for people to get their heads round if there is blame on both sides rather than just one. X

Olddear Tue 08-Sep-15 12:02:30

Mm.....not sure she couldn't find her bag. It was found dumped in a park iirc. Hope he has to serve every miserable day of the 23 yrs.

ThreeBeanRap Tue 08-Sep-15 12:09:32

The fact is you are much more likely to be raped and murdered by someone you know than by a stranger, so if this advice was actually intended to protect women we should be telling them not to get married, have boyfriends, close male friends etc. Statistically you're more likely to be hurt by someone that you know than by a stranger.

The problem with talking about alcohol and late nights and going off alone is that it makes it sound as though these horrific crimes are preventable, and that women bear some responsibility for preventing them. As other posters have pointed out, if it hadn't been Karen it would have been someone else, so by her not being drunk or out alone she wouldn't have stopped the criminal. The criminal is the only factor in this that we cannot prevent and therefore we need to work on showing men why it's wrong to attack ANY woman, drunk, alone or otherwise, rather than telling women if they're careful, it won't happen to them. That's how we end up with people like Chrissie Hynde thinking if SHE had been more cautious she wouldn't have deserved to be attacked.

GirlOverboard Tue 08-Sep-15 12:49:30

She was just VERY unlucky. We don't know if she got into the car willingly, but even if she did, I don't think it was a stupid or reckless thing to do. From the police interviews he seemed like a perfectly pleasant and normal young man. It's not like she got into a car with someone who was outwardly a complete psychopath.

It was such a rare, one in a million type of event, that I don't think women need to alter their behaviour based on this one story. Women are at far more risk of being killed in a car crash, but that doesn't mean we advise against all non-essential car travel. We're are at more risk of being murdered by our partners than by a stranger, but we don't tell women to stay single for their own safety. And we don't tell women not to open the door to their next door neighbours, just because of what happened to Joanna Yeates.

MammaTJ Tue 08-Sep-15 12:58:18

I have a situation at home and it is not pleasant to be accused by my 10 year old of victim blaming, with her being the victim!

She is bullied at school, I get why she is not popular but not the horrible bullying that happens as a result. I am trying to get her to modify her behaviour in some ways.

There was one particular event where she got punched in the face by a girl three years older than her. It transpired that this girl had told her if she didn't go away she would punch her in the face. DD sensibly walked away, then not so sensibly, walked back, right in this girls face and said 'Go on then'. The 12 year old made a bad decision, should not have punched DD but almost certainly would not have done so if DD had not acted the way she did!

When trying to talk to DD about this all she can say is that I am blaming her and it is her fault she is bullied!

Anotheronebitthedust Tue 08-Sep-15 13:47:39

to add on to auntiestella's analogy - the problem we currently have with victim-blaming, focus on safety information is that it a lot of the time it is incorrect. So, like the government telling people to stay indoors, avoid exercise, avoid contact with others and take antibiotics at the first sign of infection, while outwardly seeming sensible, is actually bad advice, because it would stop people building up immunity to standard cold viruses.

Similarly the focus on things like not walking home along, wearing "modest" clothing, taking taxis etc., is actually disingenuous, as, as ThreeBeanRap said, you are more likely to be raped at home, or by someone you know, than by a stranger after a night out.

There is also the presupposition that a rapist/murderer will rape and/or murder, regardless, and all each individual can do is take steps to protect herself so she, personally, won't be the one to be attacked (implicitly acknowledging therefore that someone else, who wasn't "worthy" and didn't take these "sensible precautions" somehow deserved what they got). Instead focus should, of course, be on the person committing the crime, and how to prevent it happening to anyone at all, not just altering the person it happens to.

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