It is not your fault you were mugged. It is the mugger’s fault for deciding to mug you.
It is not your fault that you’re treated poorly because of your skin color. It is the racist’s fault for being a bigot.
It is not your fault your house was robbed. It was the robber’s fault for robbing.
It is not your fault that someone hit your parked car. It’s the other driver’s fault.
Why is it when women complain about being harassed, it suddenly changes? Does walking while female mean that it’s your fault when people (mainly men) harass you from their cars? Does dancing while female make it your fault when someone tries to put their hands down your pants? Does dating while female mean it’s ok for the male half of your couple to rape you? Does working while female mean it is ok for male customers to badger you for a phone number?
It doesn’t. And while you can talk about how “Oh, those women should have done XYZ” it is completely possible that those women know and have tried XYZ before. After all, most women grow up learning what to do. Most of us have known and experienced some sort of behavior like this since we hit puberty. But it is expected that when women speak up about the harassment they receive, they get the platitudes of “you’re taking it too seriously,” “Well, you’re ok. After all, boys will be boys,” “Well, you were dating him,” and “No one does that when I’m around.”
When it comes to blaming the victim, why do we avoid doing that when it comes to other instances, but when the victim is female and harassed, it is suddenly their fault? Since when does existing mean that you are asking to be pestered, harassed, raped, and be told your story is unbelievable? It isn’t acceptable when it comes to being mugged or robbed. It isn’t acceptable when you are treated differently because of your race. Why should it be any different when it comes to your gender?
What it comes down to is realizing that women are not a different species, we are not from another planet, and we deserve to be able to work, walk, dance and date, without assuming that we are at fault if someone harasses us or refuses to take our “No”s, our “Yes”‘s and our statements of disinterest seriously.
We did not decide to be female. And we are not at fault for the reactions of others to our existence and audacity to act like a normal person.