Violence against women is far more common place than violence against men, at least in terms of domestic situations, and while the laws should reflect the reality of just how dangerous it is for both sexes in a domestic situation, one thing that has to stop is the tendency to blame the victims.
Former Bush White House Press Secretary and Fox News host Dana Perino discussed the murder of Jovan Belcher’s girlfriend Kasandra Perkins on Fox News’ “The Five”. Belcher murdered Perkins in front of his mother before he ran to the Kansas City Chiefs’, for which he was a line backer, training facility where he turned the gun on himself. Perino asserted that women who are victims of violence should make better decisions:
PERINO: I think it skirts the issue that women are victims of violence all the time –
CO-HOST: They should have guns!
PERINO: Well, maybe, or make better decisions.
This is victim blaming. It is a common theme within the Republican Party and among Conservatives. Basically, women are to blame for being victims of the violence directed towards them. This absolves men of any responsibility when it comes to the harm that they do and maintains the privileged view that men have a right to beat women or hurt them in some manner.
While women can make better decisions when it comes to engaging in risky behavior, women should not be held to blame for being victims. While a gun could, possibly, have stopped this murder-suicide from happening, the reality is that it probably would not have. For some reason, people love to believe that guns equal security when they do not necessarily equate to being secure.
What is more, men should behave themselves. It should not be alright for men to beat or hurt their girlfriends, boyfriends, wives or husbands. To dismiss these is to encourage violent behavior from men. And it should be noted that because of this tendency to dismiss violent behavior from men, there is a tendency to overlook domestic partner violence perpetrated by women.
One last note, Kasandra Perkins has a name. While the hat tip goes to ThinkProgress for the initial story, they kept referring to Ms Perkins as “Javon Belcher’s girlfriend.” They wrote “Kansas City Chiefs Line Backer Javon Belcher, who murdered his girlfriend before killing himself over the weekend,” and “Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend.”
This is as bad as blaming the victim of the crime. Ms Perkins has a name that we now know publically. While it is forgivable to not print her name when we do not know it, such as in the immediate aftermath of the incident, it is not forgivable to erase her identity post mortem because she is less famous than Belcher, and by not including her name, that is what ThinkProgress was doing- erasing her identity.