Blame the Victim

Here’s an analogy for what’s so terribly wrong about accepting a state wherein would-be victims are expected to defend themselves from external threats instead of would-be perpetrators being expected to stop being fucking assholes.

To ward off school bullies who began taunting her in the first grade for her ears, Nadia begged her mother at the age of 10 for an otoplasty — an operation to pin her ears back.

A young girl had been bullied consistently for half of her life, and the response was to give her free reconstructive surgery. If that doesn’t get you a bit emotional, there’s probably something terribly wrong with you. Go on and get that checked out.

I guess it’s not all bad. She seems to have some understanding of why this is a tragedy, although this is a rather thin silver lining:

While Nadia says she knows she should have been accepted as she was before the surgery, she also knew the bullying wouldn’t end and has no regrets following the procedure. “I look beautiful, this is exactly what I wanted, I love it,” she said.

She should have been accepted. She knows that the bullies’ behavior was unjustified. And that’s perhaps the biggest tragedy of all. She was completely “in the right,” and her bullies were completely “in the wrong,” but ultimately she had to change her appearance to satiate them—and it is almost certain that she will continue to endure bullying in spite of her acquiescence. Shame on everyone involved who failed to act in support of this girl! Shame on the school, shame on her classmates, and shame on all their parents! Not only does this do nothing to ameliorate the larger problem of bullying, her bullies will actually see this as vindication—to them, that she changed herself according to their demands will be taken as proof that they were right to demand she change herself! This is completely unacceptable.

“Maybe she’ll be happier now,” you might say. Fuck that. The only reason she was unhappy with her ears before was that other people were dicks to her. They created and nurtured a climate where harassing her was acceptable, and that had a severe psychological effect. I hope she is happier now, and I hope she recovers and even thrives as she becomes an adult, but if this is the case, it will be in spite of this series of events, not because of it.

It’s just a shame that she’s trying to attribute her beauty to this cosmetic surgery.


2 responses to “Blame the Victim

  1. What do you think her parents should have done? Try to end the bullying? How long would that take and what would she have had to endure while that was in progress?

    There are ways of ending it quickly. My mom told me that some boys once bullied her because her Dad (who was a teacher) punished them. When her Dad found out, he told the school authorities who had him flog the boys every day in front of the school assembly. That ended it. But I’m pretty sure this school isn’t going to do that?

  2. That kind of corporal punishment would be judged inappropriate for sure. If I were the parent, I’d be pitching regular fits with the school administrators, threatening lawsuits if the bullying weren’t stopped. If that didn’t work, I’d demand a formal meeting with the administrators and bullies’ parents. Though come to think of it, getting their parents involved is probably a good idea anyway.

    Yes, any attempted intervention risks escalation, but the properly worded (and lawyered) threat of getting the courts involved has a way of incentivizing compliance. Making it clear to the school and the other kids’ parents that you’ll involve the authorities (i.e., the police) if there’s even the slightest hint of harassment should give all involved parties a good reason to tell the bullies to knock it off.

    I’m just thinking of this mostly off the top of my head, though. This girl’s parents had years to seek solutions.

Your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s