Then cue strawmen and accusations of “victim blaming.”A judge has caused a furor by suggesting a student who was murdered after a night out in Scotland “put herself in a vulnerable position” by drinking.
Karen Buckley, a 24-year-old student from Glasgow Caledonian University, went missing on Saturday April 11 after a night out in the city’s West End.
After a “demoralizing” four-day hunt, Buckley’s body was discovered near a farm in North Glasgow on Thursday April 16.
However, at a court hearing the day after her body was found, Buckley’s father implied she had been drinking heavily on the night she went missing.
There is a fine line between actual statements of victim blaming (she dressed slutty, she was asking for it, etc) and statements of fact regarding a dangerous position one can put him/herself in. To categorize both under the umbrella of “victim blaming” makes a farce of even the most basic notions of self preservation and good judgment.“No one can gain consent from an intoxicated person,” women’s right activist and councilor at Rape Crisis Michelle Bergh told RT.
“So regardless of the prosecutor’s feeling that the survivor has placed themselves in a vulnerable position by drinking alcohol, the onus is on the alleged perpetrator to obtain consent.”
Bergh told RT she feels “strongly” about situations like this, and victim blaming can cause a “devastating impact” on the families of the victims and survivors.
I think the article and the comments under it are muddied by the fact that the victim is a woman. Let’s replace the gender and say a man drinks far too much at a club and is subsequently mugged while walking home. I don’t think there would be much debate on the claim that if the man had drank less so that he was in control of how he got home, he would likely have not gotten mugged. He would have made a less convenient target, he would have walked in a more straight-line trajectory to his destination or, what many people typically do at the end of a night, just take a taxi thus eliminating their exposure to any dangerous elements altogether.
Where do you draw the line between a basic observation that one must take control of their preservation, exercising control over themselves and the environment they may find themselves in…and “victim blaming?”