If you've been following international news, then you know that Italian-Pinay model Ambra Battilana came forward about how Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of Shakespeare in Love fame groped her breasts and reached up her shirt in his office. And while many big names such as Meryl Streep expressed their support, fashion designer Donna Karan allegedly implied in a Daily Mail interview that it's not entirely the fault of Weinstein:
"I also think, how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?"
We have written so many times about consent--about how it should never be about what a victim does but what a perpetrator has decided to do--and yet there still continues to be a culture that somehow absolves those who assault simply based on what a person wears or how a person acts.
If like Ambra Battilana, you've experienced being sexually abused or assaulted, you'll know that this culture should never stand and no one should ever experience being further harassed with the following:
Blaming the victim isn't limited to just literally saying, "It's all your fault." It comes in many forms, spoken or otherwise. Asking a rape victim, "What were you wearing?" or "What could you have done to arouse him?" are just a few of the more indirect ways of doing so. Although most of these questions are asked to try make sense of the situation, it comes off as if it was all the victim's fault that such horrible things were done to her.
"Kung ako sayo, ate, hindi ka kasi dapat pumunta. Ikaw nalang sana ung umiwas!"
"Alam mo, ate, kung ako ang nasa sitwasyon mo, hindi magiging ganyan ang reaksyon ko."
The thing with these "kung ako sayo" comments is they do more harm than good to the victim. The sexual abuse already happened and unless you want the victim to feel that she brought it upon herself to be touched without her consent, there's no use in telling the victim what she should've done.
"Kaya hindi natututo mga manyakis dahil sa inyong mga tangang biktima. Pasikat kayo sa FB eh, post-post pa kayo."
Attacking someone based on your opinions of her is so wrong on so many levels. If celebs or other popular personalities who live in a world that supposedly comes with bashers aren't immune to the severe criticism, then how much more a regular person who is still reeling from the crippling experience.
"Tanga ka. Hinimas-himas ka na, di ka pumalag. Nasarapan ka din kaya hinayaan mo lang."
"Ang sabihin mo, nagustuhan mo lang ang ginawa sayo!"
People react to situations differently, and you can't judge how someone acts under moments of extreme stress and fear. The most we can do is be mindful of the things that we say or post, especially if you've never experienced what it's really like to be in her shoes.
Making jokes, sarcastic remarks, memes, and worse, parody videos of a sexually abused victim's experience may entertain a few, but to the victim, it amplifies the damage that's already been done.
Additional reporting by Charlene J. Owen.
This story originally appeared on Candymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.