Put an end to the blaming

There’s this common psychological trick used by people who need to manipulate a narrative to keep themselves from taking responsibility for something they’ve done wrong. It’s called blame-shifting. In light of all the sexual assault allegations, this is an important tactic to note. Though it is most often used to shift the blame to another party, the blame can also be placed on a variety of things. Basically, anything absolving the perpetrator of responsibility is used as an excuse to cause harm or discomfort to others.

Exhibit A: Kevin Spacey got in trouble for sexual assault allegations made by fellow actor Anthony Rapp, who said Spacey made a sexual advance at him when he was just 14 years old. That’s bad enough, but then Spacey made a half-hearted apology in the midst of which he discussed his battle with alcoholism and also came out as a gay man.

Though he isn’t blaming Rapp for “seducing him” or “wanting it” – something that often happens to sexual assault survivors — he still managed to shift the blame to his drunkenness that night and inadvertently onto his sexuality, a huge disservice to the LGBTQ+ community, who spent decades struggling with stereotypes of them being sexual predators and pedophiles.

This wasn’t an isolated incident either. Several other men have come forward with accusations against Spacey, saying they were groped or touched inappropriately by the actor. Then we have one of the biggest sexual assault scandals of the year. When Hollywood bigwig Harvey Weinstein got himself into hot water for sexually assaulting a multitude of Hollywood starlets, he initially blamed sex addiction. That is not an excuse to dodge consent.

In these particular cases, the perpetrators have faced consequences for their actions — Weinstein has since been suspended from his production company and Spacey’s show “House of Cards” has been canceled. But how often do you think powerful people face consequences for committing sexual assault? Sexual assault occurs in numerous industries and people will always find a way to excuse it. Predatory people in positions of power prey on and harass people without power, then blame their heinous actions on drugs, alcohol and blurred lines of consent. Instead of taking full responsibility for these actions, they retreat behind a wall of tired excuses that we will not and cannot continue to accept as a society.