A friend of mine texted me a while back.
She in recent times added some weight, and although I think it looks really good on her, that is beside the point.
She sent me a screenshot of a conversation she was having with someone, or to put it in a more correct context – an unsolicited advice she was getting from someone, about her weight.
The speaker urged her to lose “the extra weight” before she gets back to school, because it doesn’t look good on her and whatnot. The speaker was rude and invasive.
She showed me the conversation and asked me if she was supposed to find it offensive that is, what the speaker had said. She wanted a sincere answer from me.
Her question was frank. She wanted to know the right way to feel about what had just been said to her. She wanted to know what was expected of her in that situation, if it was okay to be upset or not. She, who had just taken the jab of someone’s bellicose comment, was indirectly enquiring from me, what the generally accepted reaction is, so that hers could fit in.
It bothered me, because I understood where her concern stemmed from: it stemmed from a societally induced consciousness that what matters the most in many situations, is what the victim did to warrant being victimized, and not necessarily what was done to the victim. Of even greater importance to the society most times, is how exactly the victim reacts after an abuse has been meted out. It’s like there is a code of conduct that all victims must abide by, in order not to make the world an uncomfortable place for the rest of humanity.
There is need to also understand that although what she asked was if she should be upset by the action; her question in essence was if it was okay that she was feeling an already existing hurt.
In my own understanding, her contemplating if to be upset, was actually her processing a subtle smidgen of hurt within, and wondering if to acknowledge, nurture and give expression to it, or if to push it away.
So I responded, trying to guide her to the truth of her current feelings. I told her that the important question isn’t if she should be hurt, but if she is hurt.
She tried to reply by analyzing her feelings, a bit rather evasively “well I don’t know… I feel he was rude with how he said it, but at the same time he is expressing his opinion so I don’t know if I should find that offensive I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know…”
I had to cut her short again and explain to her that the question needed a direct yes or no answer and that she should confront her feelings and give me a response “Do you feel hurt by what he said?”
And she said yes.
“So it’s simple then. Go ahead and tell him that you don’t like what he said, and that it upsets you, and that he shouldn’t say something like that to you again. What matters the most is how you feel, and not how you should feel, at least in this situation.”
End of conversation.
But isn’t it worrying? How we shift the responsibility of the consequences of ones negative actions from the person who committed the actions, and then try to place the responsibility on the victim who was merely unfortunate to be on the receiving side?
In another recent past in a community in which I belong in, a Ponzi scheme erupted and it swept across rather quickly. As is expected of Ponzi schemes, people began to lose their money at some point. As the issue continued to unravel, quite a number of people became more focused on making the people that had fallen victim to the scheme the center of scrutiny, rather than focusing on the wrongness of a Ponzi scheme in the first place. They were more preoccupied with why the victims would be so gullible, than with why someone should start a Ponzi scheme. It was ludicrous how hardly anybody questioned the intent of the person who started the scheme.
You see, we hide the perpetuators of vices most times, and put their victims on display. This is a total misplacement of priorities, and a wrongful channeling of our energy as a society.
One thing I’ve come to know that victim blaming does is that it protects evil. It shifts the light away from the evil and the evil doer, and casts the full beam on the victim. This is most ironic considering that darkness is simply the absence of light.
Maybe this collective attitude of ours is as a result of years of travail in the hands of malefactors, that we have resorted to self-preservation and self-protection as the only solution. What better way to ensure our safety than by forcing everybody to continually look within themselves whenever they’re dealt badly, so that they can make adjustments that would prevent a reoccurrence. Now inasmuch as I understand the place and importance of self-preservation, it is imperative to understand that self-preservation isn’t even living; self-preservation is merely surviving. Self-preservation and all the ways that we manifest it only ensures that we keep dodging bullets in order to stay alive, while overlooking the fact that we could just take the bloody gun off the hands of the assailant pulling the trigger.
What is argued that victim blaming achieves, is that in pointing out what the victim did wrongly, it highlights what the victim needs to do differently in order to avoid reliving such unfortunate experience.
At the end of the day however, evil is fluid, evil has many faces, evil comes in many forms, and we can only know so much on how to prevent evil from befalling us if we decide to always be on the defensive.
Instead of playing hide and seek with this many faced entity of evil, it we should redirect our energy into quelling its vigor, by identifying and crushing it whenever and wherever it manifests. It is time we channel all the efforts we put into fortifying ourselves against the reach of malefactors, into reaching out to them ourselves and exterminating them, one after the other.
“Man up and develop a tough skin so their actions won’t hurt you anymore…”
“Stop falling for men and their tricks. Love less and hate them; that’s the only way protect your heart”
“Stop letting your peers’ hurtful jokes get to you; look at it as a joke too if not you will be miserable”
“Next time do not wear that skimpy dress, so nobody rapes you again…”
And while we make excuses for the culprits and put all the blame on ourselves, the very nature of their perversity would ensure that their darkness keeps thriving and blossoming until it overshadows us again, and again, because we choose to keep ignoring itHow is your day going people? Thank you for reading!
This is totally unrelated, but do you know ‘Mask Off’ by Future is actually a sample of the original song ‘Prison Song’ by Tommy Butler released in 1976
I actually find it a bit off that a song that paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr and addressed slavery and black liberation, was remade into a song talking about drugs and ish.
But anyways, do have a beautiful day!
This article was written by Peniel Okwuchukwu
Connect with Peniel on Instagram: @peniel____
Connect with Truth Zombie on social media for more exclusive content
@truth_zombie on IG
Truth Zombie on FB
TruthZombieTV on YouTube