Victim Blaming and the New York Post.

The Wife of the “Cannibal cop” sobs in the back of a car.

When I saw this a few weeks ago, I was appalled. I have so many issues with this image. From the headline, to the image captured of someone clearly in distress. But the biggest issue I have is that we don’t know what she’s gone through. She’s clearly a victim in this. He wanted to kill her too. And the information she shared in her testimony was nothing short of bone chilling. And yet the Post chooses to attack her, too. They still made the choice to mock the victim.

Yes – it’s a funny pun. But behind the hilarity is an issue that I think we need to address with even our tacky media sources.

Blaming the victim is not acceptable. Making fun of the victim is not OK.This image is an excellent example of this issue – and it doesn’t stop here.

Law and Order: SVU blames the victim every week, showing women going back to their abusers (and the cops victim blaming them when they die), showing women in skimpy clothes getting raped. Victim blaming is an inherent part of the discourse around abuse, attacks and rape perpetrated against women.

The wife doesn’t get to walk away from this. She doesn’t get to say “well, my husband was an evil sonofabitch and I never have to think about it again.” These images will haunt her. People will ask “Why didn’t you leave earlier?” and she won’t have a good answer,

And why should she? She’s one of the victims here. We shouldn’t blame her for what her husband was thinking of doing, or what he planned to do. We shouldn’t blame her for the choices she made before she knew who he was.

Not only should we – the standard of this readership – not blame her, but the general public needs to back off. We need to stop the cycle of victim blaming which circulates through our news organizations, through our blogs, through our thoughts, and most importantly – through our dialogues. Blaming the victim does nothing except leave that person trying to figure out where they went wrong.

I can’t wait for the SVU episode. I’m sure there’ll be one, continuing to drag out this story for as long as possible. When do we let the victims of these situations free? He’s been convicted, he’ll be sentenced, and then it should end.  We ought to let it. And we need to let it end, for the betterment of their lives, and for our own social behaviors.


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