We are all fully aware that when someone is raped there is a tendency to place blame on the victim. We, as humans, have gotten a bit better about this, but sadly a lot of people still believe that when a person is raped, they are at least somewhat responsible for the crime. When the individual raped or murdered or kidnapped is a minor, we tend to place the blame on the parents, which is what is going on in the article I posted yesterday about the Texas girl who was gang-raped by a pack of 20 men and young men. The Texas case is just a small example, but how many times have we read a news story or seen something awful that happened on Dateline involving a minor and our first inclination is to think “Where were the parents?” In a lot of cases, I would even say the majority of cases, the parents were right there. They were good parents. They were just like you and me.
There are many cases where we can blame a parents for a crime committed against a child. If a child is being sexually abused, informs a parent about this, and the parent ignores the child, we can place some blame here. If a parent trades her 5-year-old daughter for sex in order to settle a drug debt, it is partially this parents fault (and also the fault of the adult who accepted the trade and raped and murdered the child.) When a parents leaves a baby in a car so they can go to a bar and drink and the baby dies, the parent is to blame. I’m sure we can think of many more examples where full or partial blame can be attributed to the parents, but in some many cases, it wasn’t the parent’s fault at all.
If we let our daughters wear shorts to school and they are raped it is not our fault. People should be able to wear whatever they want without being afraid of having a crime committed against them. If we let our kids ride a bike after school alone, and the kid is old enough to be riding a bike alone (I’m talking about a 10 or 11-year-old) and they are kidnapped it is not the parent’s fault. If our daughter is tall for her age, or has developed breasts, or looks older than she appears and she is raped, it is not the parent’s fault. If our teens go to parties and get drunk (and, as much as I talk to my own kids about this, it will happen. Teenagers get drunk at parties) and are raped it is not our fault, and it is not their fault either. We need to start blaming the perpetrators of crimes and stop blaming the victims and the victim’s parents.