North Texas Daily

The Bella Thorne scandal is a perfect example of victim blaming

The Bella Thorne scandal is a perfect example of victim blaming

The Bella Thorne scandal is a perfect example of victim blaming
June 27
08:00 2019

On June 15, Bella Thorne, a model, actress and writer tweeted nude photos of herself with a long note expressing anger toward an alleged hacker. Thorne also tweeted screenshots of messages from the hacker who threatened to release her nude photos and video.      

Her response was an attempt to expose and track down the perpetrator. Thorne felt as though she was “reclaiming her power” by tweeting the photos herself instead of carrying out whatever the hacker’s wishes may have been.   

Comedian and actress Whoopi Goldberg later called out Thorne while discussing the scandal on “The View.” Goldberg implied that it was Thorne’s fault for even taking the photos in the first place, stating “If you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are, you don’t take nude pictures of yourself.” 

We as a society might be desensitized by the hacking of celebrity nude photos and the pain and embarrassment that follows, but that is no excuse to start blaming the victim in these situations. 

For the longest time, people seem to have been very comfortable telling a survivor of a situation what they should have done differently to have protected themselves, instead of putting that energy toward the perpetrator. 

In the year 2019, are we as a society still having trouble comforting and aiding those who are harassed, threatened or assaulted? The Bella Thorne hacking is just one example of how those in Hollywood are blamed publicly for being the victim of a crime. What about those who are not famous, those who do not have millions of dollars, bodyguards and a platform to a loyal fan base?  

For example, 17 and 18-year-olds arriving at college for the first time, without the constant supervision of their parents, often experiment with alcohol and drugs. How do we treat those kids, who are close to Thorne’s age, when they are sexually harassed, assaulted or threatened in those settings?   

Young college students are left emotionally stranded with no hope in sight because people’s first questions tend to be, “Well, why did you get so drunk?” or “Why were you wearing that outfit, are you sure you didn’t want it?” or “You knew what he wanted when you invited him over, didn’t you?” 

This continuously dysfunctional dialogue that assigns blame to the wrong individual has created a pattern in our society, especially campus culture. If you want to attend a party where you will be drinking underaged and wearing an outfit your grandmother may not approve of, you may feel that reporting or simply telling someone else about the assault is not an option. 

Because we do not have an open dialogue about toxic masculinity, sex, nudity and self-expression in America, we have created a shame spiral that victims may fall into after they come to terms with their assault. 

We can not enable this negative dialogue that shames victims in these situations. Especially on college campuses where it may feel like a free-for-all, more energy should go into the comfort and empathy of victims and the teaching of safe sexual practices. 

The reality is that if someone wants to take a naked picture of themselves, they have the right to do that. That is their property. No one has the right to steal, blackmail or threaten someone in that naked photo. If someone wants to wear a short skirt and a tight top, they have a right to wear whatever they want. You do not have the right to consider yourself entitled to that person’s body and blame their outfit or lack thereof for the assault. 

Featured Illustration by: Austin Banzon

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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