warning: may be triggery

This is something I've been thinking about for awhile now and disturbs me about my culture: we have a pervasive habit of blaming the victim. Some call it the "rape culture." I call it the Bully Culture.  It's bigger than girls being second class citizens. It's about anything "less than asshole male" being second class citizens. We see it in the workplace (God, constantly. How do people stand it??)  We see it in the media. We see it in the schools. We see it in our homes.

It comes off like this:

  • To the robbery victim: You should have locked your car/home.
  • To the bully victim: Did you tell them to stop and that you don't like it. Did you communicate clearly and effectively? or  Well, s/he's different/immature/flagrantly gay/bossy/anti-social.
  • To the rape victim: You shouldn't have been drinking/wearing that/walking there.
  • To the murder victim: You shouldn't have gone out with that person/done drugs/gone to that place/hung out with those people/lived in that neighborhood. 

Be honest with yourself, at least. You've heard of crimes where your first thought was that the victim did something stupid. Maybe you don't go so far as to say they deserved it, but their stupid act lessens the "crime" somehow. I've heard it from the MOTHERS of bully victims; hell, I've even said it. "We-ell, s/he needs to learn more social skills." 

Which of course is what rapist, robbing, bullying, raping psychopaths look for, it's what they have in common. Detecting weakness is probably the only thing successful criminals* are good at.

I'd put forth a bully is no better than a rapist or robber or murderer. (You can disagree, but you've obviously never seen the severe damage a bully can do to someone.) They all seek and detect weakness, and take advantage of it for their own entertainment. They're all cut from the same cloth.

My son was bullied to the extent of near constant bruising in 6th grade. Who was put into a support group? Him. Who was taught to communicate? Him. Who was given the responsibility of stopping it? HIM. Who won't be bullying anyone or raping a girl in High School? Him. Cuz, you know, he knows how to be a decent human being, unlike the perpetrators. He knew all along. And no, I have zero hope the bullies have matured or reformed. Once a bully, always a bully. I believe it's form of psychotic behavior, even if it's a mild one, that doesn't just "go away."

And the school had the audacity to act surprised when we chose to move him out of that school. Well, you know what? Fuck them. My kid isn't the fucked up one. It was THEM, the same assholes who will probably do inappropriate things to girls in high school if they haven't already. Look at the history of the kids in OH who raped that girl. Someone should question them. I'd lay hard cold cash down they've been bullies their whole lives. The only difference is their asses got caught. And yeah, maybe their lives are ruined. I sure as hell hope so. I hope they never get to have the future they thought they would. They don't deserve any less. At least it's two bullies off the street, right?

Problem is, we live in the Bully Culture. There are always more to take their place.

*successful defined as someone completing a crime whether they are punished or not.


ThinkBannedThoughts said...

Well ranted. I wrote a piece today on a similar note. (Not published yet.)
I am so, so tired of the victim blaming and the lack of education and empathy being taught - and yes, empathy IS taught behavior.
I'm working on putting together a curriculum and trying to get into schools and colleges. We need to be reaching the perpetrators - and the bystanders.
Thanks for stating your truth on this, it makes me feel less alone in my outrage.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

A curriculum won't hurt for sure but I have little faith it will do much. It's too pervasive in our culture. The schools can not solve it.

I guess if it helps one kid, though...

Tamela said...

I completely agree with you that we need to change the way our culture perceives these events and stop blaming the victims.

Here's where things get tricky:They say that psychopaths represent a relative small percentage of the population—murderers, rapists etc. However, there's a lesser branch of these psychopathic types that are called narcissistic psychopaths or extreme narcissists.

These extreme narcissists represent about 5% of the populations. So 1 out of every 20 people you meet will be an EN. The difference between these narcissistic types and the full psychopath is that they are more devious and they learn how not to get caught. They don't like getting into trouble so they learn how to hurt people and then use their charm to get out of it.

The really unfortunate part is that most studies (though there are surprisingly few researchers studying these types of people) show that there is no therapeutic hope for them. In fact, therapy is contraindicated because they tend to use what they learn in therapy to come up with better techniques of psychologically torturing their victims.

Studies on their brain find that they actually have different brain patterns than the rest of us. In normal people, the pleasure centers of the brain are stimulated around scenes of love, peace and joy. In their brains, the pleasure centers are stimulated when seeing chaos, pain and suffering.

So what do we do with creatures that literally have different brains than us and for whom there is no therapeutic way of changing them? It's an awful, awful thing that really should be part of a much bigger effort of research.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...


I've known a few narcisists in my day. I avoid them when I can because they are extremely dangerous predators. And I've researched them and there is no hope.


Some studies show that if a kid doesn't start to learn empathy by the age of 3, the window is lost forever. it's been my experience. I don't believe empathy can be taught, understanding of already present empathy can only be deepened. Those who don't have it by the time they reach school never will.

Tamela said...

I agree there is no hope for narcissists. And that kids who don't have empathy by age 3 never will. I guess I'm wondering what we do with these people?

It's not right that the victims have to go through therapy and transplant schools. It's made worse by knowing that there's no treatment for these people and yet there are no laws against bullies (at least at the kid level) that will keep them off the streets unless they've already done serious harm.

Until they break the (current) laws, there's nothing to be done with them. In schools, they can be kicked out, but that just sends them to someone else's school.

Worse is that they statistically are found at higher levels in upper management of businesses and politics. So their warped brains are behind a lot of decisions in business and government.

I've been trying to figure out the answer to this problem for awhile, so you struck a real nerve with me. Thanks for giving me a place to vent. :-)

Marc MacYoung said...

Oh we are so going to have to sit down and have a cup of coffee over this subject.