Freitag, 8. März 2013

Oh the sweet victim blaming

Trigger warning, obviously
So, the local radio station pointed me towards Kate Miller-Heidke and her song Sarah. A beautiful, talented voice, a song that chills the bones, well-sung, expressive and oh, so wrong.
The song tells the story of a friend of hers who is the first person narrator of the song. It is the story of two young girls who went to a music festival, deemed to be "safe as safe can be". The age of the girls is not given exactly, but they have to sneak in gin, and they are supposed to be picked up by midnight, so we're dealing with teenagers and I don't think on the upper end of "teen".
While dancing, the friend of the narrator, Sarah, suddenly disappears. The only thing found of her is her dress the next day. She returns two weeks later, not knowing what happened or where she had been.
So we're talking about a horrible crime commited against a child, obviously.
Yet the criminal in this story is invisible. He doesn't get mentioned, it is as if he doesn't exist, as if this whole tragic event isn't solely the fault of one person who decided to abduct and probably rape a child.
Instead, the blame gets put on the girls. The narrator is blamed by the parents, apparently she didn't take enough care of her friend. And she blames herself. "I didn't mean to let you down...I hated when I let you down". How exactly? How was she supposed to know that something horrible would happen the moment she turned around? Weren't they supposed to be "safe as safe can be"? And she blames her friend "but you left me on my own...why didn't you scream, why didn't you shout?"
The idea is clear: There are things the two girls could have done to prevent this from happening. The criminal is like a force of nature whose path you can't change. You can only get out of the way.
I admit that there is the possibility that Kate Miller-Heidke actually tries to show how ridiculous, cruel and stupid it is to put the blame on the victim, to put the onus on girls and women not to get raped. I just don't think that it is coming across like that and not like a "tragic story of two girls where one didn't pay attention and the other didn't scream loud enough.