This is a true story. My friends and I were once held at gunpoint while two men robbed us. We never talked much about it. We didn’t report it to the police. We pretend that it never happened.
We were out late, sitting just outside our University, laughing and talking about everything in general. We didn’t talk much about the incident because every time we do, we were always stared down and asked why we stayed out so late? And were told, we should have known better. We never went to the police, because we just knew they were going to shake their heads and laugh at us.
Victim blaming. At that point, I was two months shy of turning 17 and victim blaming was not a familiar concept to me yet. Today, I have only had the epiphany that the shame I felt (and maybe my friends too) at that time is due to victim blaming. And yes, this has connection with what happened to Kim Kardashian.
When I first saw the news, I immediately had a flash back of that feeling of fear that crawled in my body that very night. I had chills and I felt very sorry for Kim, gagged and bound with a gun at her head – no, you would never wish that on anyone. If you do, you’ve never felt true fear. If you’re laughing, your sick. If you’re saying its her fault because she flaunted her wealth, you need to really look in the mirror right now and apologize to her and to yourself.
People often forget that we all have roles to play in someone else’s life. When I was 17 and held at gunpoint, I was a daughter to two loving parents, and so were my friends. We were all daughters and older sisters. I still remember the way the man held the gun and how he slowly pointed the gun at each one of us until he found my friend’s head and decided it will stay there while we scramble and gave him what we can reach.
I remember the flash of fear in my friend’s eyes. And I remember how slowly I processed everything. I thought the man was asking for directions until I saw the gun. I had to ask him twice what he wanted, before realizing we were actually getting robbed. His partner was riding the motorcycle, their getaway vehicle and he was watching things unfold.
When my friend, the one who had the gun at her head, and I got home, she lost it. She cried hysterically and melted to the floor. She was shaking and I stood there, frozen, I couldn’t even comfort her, because I was in shock too. It was like my being just floated away from my body and I stared into my friend in the floor and myself standing staring down at her.
Fear comes to your life in different forms. I got to know one that night, which I would never hope for anyone, even to my worst enemy. You never really get to know it until your life is in someone else’s hand – and that someone has every intention to take it away from you if you don’t follow what they say. A lot of things happen to you simultaneously. For me, I began thinking about my parents while I scrambled for my phone and wallet to give to the man (which he never took – thank god, because people across the street were finally realizing what was happening and was starting to make noise). Then came my voice, which sounded far and hollow. And then, there was my indifference. It’s a strange thing.
Lastly, there was the shame that came the next day. I never understood why I felt that until now, really. Victim blaming is not new to me anymore, but reading comments and tweets about the Kim event, was just unnerving. I couldn’t believe that people who has never been in danger in their life would laugh about something so serious and actually had the nerve to say, “it’s her fault.” That’s like saying, “she got raped because she wore a mini skirt or that because she was drunk.”
That’s when I realized why my friends and I never went to the police or even reported it to the University. We or maybe I never said it out loud but that was because we felt it was our fault for staying late outside the University where behind us, literally (and I mean that as literally as this is actually true), was the security guard’s office who never saw the incident because it happened so fast. Because there is a culture of victim blaming. Instead of saying “people should not rob,” they say “you should have never done that.”
It’s so easy for people to say this in their computer as they sit down in their comfortable chair. There is something wrong with society, and we should change it by teaching our kids the right way.
Kim is a celebrity and it’s easy to forget that she’s a mother, a wife, a sister and a daughter. But she is. We all have roles in someone else’s life, think about yours and would you really want to leave that role because of senseless violence?
Sorry for the rant, if it felt like that. My experience with guns are bad, and it doesn’t feel right for people to blame victims nowadays. We should really try and be more sympathetic towards each other, because this is what makes us human after all.