First, please pass this information along. I passed this along on Facebook yesterday, since I have not been blogging a lot lately because of stuff.
It didn’t take long, and the victim blaming started. “Who leaves a two year old alone in a car?” was asked of me.
Well, I can think of lots of people. Myself included. I can think of plenty of times, as a single mother (and I am sure others who weren’t me did the same) that I stopped at a gas station with a sleeping baby and only two hands, and certainly when it was winter in Northern Michigan, and I would run into the gas station to either pay for my gas or grab milk or some other necessity. Never for more than a minute or two, and usually I was parked at the pump closest to the station, or I would move the car to a parking stall by the door. You don’t, after all, wake a sleeping baby. I know plenty of parents, caregivers, family members who have done the same. I think it is safe to say that it is a common enough occurrence.
But that is not the point.
Regardless of who left a baby where, a person does not have the right to take a child. What people who are exclaiming about the irresponsibility of people leaving a kid in a car are missing is that it isn’t the fact that the child was left in the car that allowed her to be stolen…
Just like the difference between a woman who is raped and one who isn’t is the presence of a rapist, the difference between me and the parent who has a child stolen is the presence of a kidnapper.
But we should never miss a chance to throw on some good old fashioned victim blaming.
Victim-blaming is based on the damnably fucked-up notion that people (and women in particular) allow themselves to be victimized by virtue of carelessness or stupidity, and they need to be warned and educated and lectured and hectored and cajoled and shamed into never being victims (again).
Even though Melissa is obviously talking about rape, and in no way is this to diminish the severity of rape, the sentiment in regards to victim blaming is no less relevant.
Blaming someone who has had a child stolen for being careless with a child is not going to do one lick of good to someone who is already beating themselves up and questioning whether or not they are in fact “bad parents” (or people). Instead of shaming victims and finding fruitful ways to help them, we should be concentrating on finding the ass hole who would dare steal a child.
Parents and caregivers make all kinds of mistakes every day. It doesn’t make us bad people, it doesn’t make us bad parents/caregivers. It certainly doesn’t make us deserving of crimes that are committed against us or our children. It makes us human, and I challenge any parent or caregiver to look at themselves and to honestly say that they are as perfect as society, expects us to be, especially in the face of something as tragic as a crime against us. Under the type of scrutiny people who have been victimized face at the media I don’t believe any parent would measure up.
Enough with the victim blaming.