Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

The Consequences of a Slap

Sarah Vine's article in the Daily Mail today is an extremely unpleasant, victim-blaming piece of twaddle. Others have already addressed Vine's victim-blaming but I want to examine the possible consequences of a slap. Rennard's victims were all younger than him and held far less political and social power. There are a number of quite serious consequences to slapping a powerful man; none of which result in the man being held accountable for perpetrating sexual harassment.

1. Loss of employment: The economic repercussions cannot be emphasised enough. Loss of employment is a real threat for women.

2. An assault charge: This isn't uncommon and, let's face it, considering those who support Rennard now do we really believe that a woman who slapped him for touching her without consent would be found not guilty?

3. Increased risk of further assault: this could be either physical or sexual but it is a very real risk. Demanding that women put themselves at further risk rather than demanding that men keep their hands to themselves is victim-blaming. It's also incredibly dangerous advice.

Sarah Vine wasn't just blaming the women for being victims of sexual harassment. She was demanding they put themselves at further risk. And, that is unforgivable.

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