Perfect Victims and the effort required to purchase acceptable victim purity

unseeable if looked at directly

Jason Thibeault, in his essay, The Perfect Victim, has hit upon the core of symbolic purity  so many people seem to require of victims in order for those victims to be legitimized and approved and, ultimately, to be believed.

I cannot speak for cultural conditions elsewhere, but in America, the opponents of women’s advocacy issues and the proponents of rape culture — those proponents being the Rape Culture Warriors whom Thibeault writes of — seem intent upon putting the focus on anything but the needs of any particular woman, especially if she has not symbolically run the purity gauntlet in order to purchase the right to victimhood.

Thibeault described how this change of focus is done deliberately by rape apologists. In the larger culture, I think this is done reflexively and spontaneously, like in a cult, without reflection, and based on the unexamined pressure of cultural norms. One hears this lack of reflection in the spontaneous eclipsing of individual women, spontaneous exaggeration with regard to the effect that a woman’s “condition” affects others (!), and spontaneous victim fetishization and blaming — running the spectrum from concern trolling to freeform accusations of personal impropriety.

Not personally having a coherent strategy, my first thought about the way out of this (and taking up Thibeault’s recommendation) is to talk about it unflinchingly and to deliberately support the women in our lives, when such support is wanted.

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