Tuesday, February 16, 2010

She's ALWAYS fricken' right

Trigger warnings.

Flicked to Dr Phil today, and saw the topic was "Abducted by a Predator", featuring guests whose children had gone missing or had been murdered. One throwaway line Dr Phil said - and I can't find an online transcript or corresponding video of this particular part, so I may not quote it correctly - struck me as odd:

[while advising college-aged twin girls and their mother about safety] These things do happen... I wonder how many girls who have been abducted, have the final thought in their minds of, 'My mother was right.' I shouldn't have been in the place, or spoken to that person...

I am lucky enough to have never (yet) had my safety threatened to that extent, but really, a victim's final thought being, "My mother was right"? Come on now.

Maybe, "Oh God, I'll never see my mother again", or "Somebody please help me", or "Why?" or "Please make it stop". And it makes me sick to write these, to imagine the ordeals of others. But I did it because I cannot believe someone would suggest a victim would take time out from the gripping terror and physical pain and pleading for one's life that comes with being abducted/tortured/raped/murdered, in order to chastise themselves for not listening to their mother. Even if they are in the "wrong" place, or talking to the "wrong" people, or wearing the "wrong" thing, or doing the "wrong" thing.

And of course, this is all making some major assumptions about all mothers everywhere offering the same "advice", and it being foolproof, and that everybody has mother figures in their lives.

I mean, I don't know firsthand what goes through somebody's mind as they are attacked. I have come close, having been threatened and harassed before, in situations where some tut-tutting outsider could shake their head and sigh, "You should have listened to your mother about not sitting in the front seat of a cab/ walking on the street at night/ talking to strangers/ being impolite to strange men".

But in each of those situations - and only one escalated to the point where I experienced the pure, total fear I imagine the victim of a kidnapping/assault would feel - the last thing I was thinking was, "My mother was right!" I was thinking a lot of things, all of which are covered in those entries, but not that.

Taking safety precautions and listening to your guardian's advice is one thing. Skimming dangerously close to blaming (female) victims is another, Dr Phil. It's insensitive (to say the LEAST) to even suggest that the thought "my mother was right" or some variation of the victim-blaming sentiment should even enter a victim's head WHILE THEY ARE BEING ABDUCTED/ASSAULTED/MURDERED.

Seems like only yesterday I was addressing this very attitude... oh wait, it pretty much was!


  1. "Today I delivered a baby to a fifteen year old girl and do you know what she said to me? She said: I should have listened to my father."

  2. "At least that's what she would have said if she wasn't so doped up!"