Victimized the Assault Victim

Question:

I am a huge fan of your Alice books and always have been. However, I’m in the middle of reading Always Alice, and after the scene where assault is attempted on Alice by a drunk guy, the police officer emphasizes how appreciative she is of her reporting it. While this is all good, the way he says it frames sexual assault victims as the party responsible. Thus this re-victimizes assault victims and is a form of victim blaming.

As someone who has never come forward to the police about her assault, this made me really upset. It made me upset that nobody questions this statement the police officer said. It made me upset that you explain further (unless it happens much later in the book – I believe i’m 2/3 of the way through). It makes me upset that people in my daily life think in this way and that people rarely question it.

Phyllis replied:
 
I am so sorry this happened to  you, and I really want to understand your point of view.  I found the section in the book you are referring to (“Now I’ll Tell You Everything” not “Always Alice”) and thought I read it carefully.  I just don’t quite understand what you are saying.  Isn’t this the very point the officer is making, that too many women are afraid of being blamed for the assault, so they don’t report it?  He says, “You did the right thing to report this. Many girls don’t, and it happens to someone else.”  What do you think the officer should have said?  (Obviously, the guy who did the assault is not going to report it, so why not Alice?)  Please do respond, as I think this is extremely important to discuss on this page, and I appreciate your comments.

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