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In August, the comedian and former Inside Amy Schumer writer Kurt Metzger reignited a national conversation about victim-blaming when he posted a series of rants on social media criticizing the ways women report being the victim of a crime and the effects of those reports on the accused. After the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in New York banned a performer in the wake of several women accusing him of sexual assault and abuse, Metzger took to Facebook.

 

“I know because women said it and that’s all I need! Never you mind who they are. They are women! ALL women are as reliable as my bible! A book that, much like a women, is incapable of lying!” Metzger wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post. He went on to seemingly criticize women for not going to the police, adding “If we ask them to even merely also post a vague account of what happened before asking us to believe that would like re-raping their rape!”

 

Metzger’s former boss and outspoken feminist Amy Schumer, was inevitably drawn into the storm of commentary and discussion that followed. Schumer publicly denounced Metzger’s comments, tweeting, “I am so saddened and disappointed in Kurt Metzger. He is my friend and a great writer and I couldn’t be more against his recent actions.”

 

Victim-blaming comes in many forms, and is oftentimes more subtle, and unconscious than Metzger’s tirade. It can apply to cases of rape and sexual assault, but also to more mundane crimes, like a person who gets pickpocketed and is then chided for his decision to carry his wallet in his back pocket. Any time someone defaults to questioning what a victim could have done differently to prevent a crime, he or she is participating, to some degree, in the culture of victim-blaming.

 

While victim-blaming isn’t entirely universal (some individuals’ experiences, background, and culture make them significantly less likely to victim-blame), in some ways, it is a natural psychological reaction to crime. Not everyone who engages in victim-blaming explicitly accuses someone of failing to prevent what happened to them. In fact, in its more understated forms, people may not always realize they’re doing it. Something as simple as hearing about a crime and thinking you would have been more careful had you been in the victim’s shoes is a mild form of victim-blaming.

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The Atlantic

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