If you read through the comment stream on just about any Facebook news post or online article, you'll find a flood of remarks relegating blame to the women who brought rape charges, the wife who made the mistake of hiring a twenty-something nanny, a CNN moderator who dared to challenge a candidate about his disparaging statements about women, and even a pair of unpaid, overworked interns who didn't receive college credit for over fifty hours of schlepping dresses and salads with the dressing on the side.
In this culture of blame, we provide celebrities and those who presumably "didn't know any better" with pretty long leashes while we chastise everyone else.
If a husband is having an affair, the wife is probably turning down his advances because she's too busy with the kids or maybe she's gained ten pounds since her wedding day. Boys will be boys. A married celebrity slips Quaalude or Benadryl cocktails to ambitious but "financially struggling" young women? Well, they shouldn't have gone to his room! If you don't like the way you're treated at your job or your boss tries to take birth control off your prescription plan, just be glad you're employed!
Women are advised to follow safe practices. Don't have more than one or two drinks. Keep your water in your hand at all times. Never accept a drink from someone you don't really know. Make sure your skirt is below the knee. Most of us advise our daughters about self-preservation but what if these tactics don't work? We blame the woman because, well, men have no self-control and girls must be charged with keeping them at bay!
Every time we let someone off the hook for "my bad," we present an extremely low opinion of all men as slimy, lecherous animals with no impulse control, an untrue and unfair characterization.
There's no excuse for an employer providing an unsafe or hostile work environment just because there are those who willing to put up with mistreatment. And there should be zero tolerance for a man who plies young women with pills and drinks till she's passed out because she mistakenly trusted the wrong guy.
Let's stop making excuses for bullies who exploit others and hold them accountable for their actions. And let's stop shaming those who were on the receiving side of someone else's bad behavior.