Is there some reason you used those quotation marks?
Benjamin T. Awesome
12

When one person is making the brave choice to share a raw story of sexual assault, and the group of people they’re talking to immediately begin asking questions like “what were you wearing” or “why were you alone with that person in the first place”, then that is blaming the victim. No quotes are necessary. I find such blaming reprehensible.

But when no specific story of assault is being discussed, somebody might try to give advice about how to reduce the risk of assault, advice which may include such things as “consider what to wear” and “if somebody seems as if they might be dangerous, avoid being alone with them, and give your friends ways to avoid being alone with them.” Such advice is “blaming the victim”, scare quotes included. That is, to those who have dealt all too often with actual blaming of the victim, it will appear to be more of the same; but to others, it may appear to be simple common sense motivated by no atom of blame.

Thus, there are certain contexts in which such advice should be against the norms; places that should be safe from both blaming the victim and “blaming the victim”. And there are other contexts where freedom of speech is a more paramount value; where “blaming the victim” should be perfectly OK, and even actually blaming the victim should be allowed. Note that in such a free-for-all speech environment, either kind might be answered with criticism, and indeed I’d hope that most people would be ready to sharply criticize the former and even point out the problems with the latter. But consequences for “blaming” or even blaming should not go beyond criticism.

So I think the scare quotes were OK.

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