SHAME ON YOU

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It seems as though we live in a culture where we are quick to blame the victims of crimes for the heinous acts perpetrated on them. Not only do we live in such a culture, many of us help to perpetuate this culture by involving ourselves in victim shaming or enabling others to do so. Shame on you. This behavior needs to stop. The only way it will stop is if we speak out against those who seek to participate in this awful behavior.

Yesterday, I was faced with an opportunity to do just that and I did not shirk away from my responsibility as a human to call out the wrong and I hope others will join me in doing so now and in the future. Being the Founder of Code Red Flag I am often sought out by men and women who are or have been facing a conflict in their lives and I attempt to assist them in any way possible. That could mean coaching them, sharing their story on my social media platforms, really, whatever the situation calls for, I act in the best interest of the person/people who have sought me out.

Getting back to yesterday and the reason for this blog post. I was contacted by a young woman who advocates for victims of sexual assault, having been one herself. She was attacked by a man who stated “I’m going to assume you are a rape victim….which I don’t see how??? When you give it up so easy.” The ellipses are not being used to break up his wording, this is actually what was typed on her Facebook profile by Jeremiah Khaleq.

I do not know this woman personally. However, I know many women who are survivors of sexual assault. Most of us do as 1:5 women have been victimized in a sexual manner. I do not know this man personally. Unfortunately, I know many men (and yes women) who hold the same beliefs; that a woman who is perceived as easy is unrapeable. For those who hold that belief, shame on you!

Shame-Bell-Lady-From-Game-Thrones
After seeing this exchange, I took screenshots and shared the images on my Facebook fan page with the caption, “So Jeremiah Khaleq thinks it’s cool to tell a woman he doesn’t see how she could be raped because she gives it up so easy.” Not long after I received a message from a woman claiming to be Mr. Khaleq’s wife. She reported that she found the post may be in violation of Facebook’s Community Standards against spam. I disagreed. She then asked that I either take down the post or show the entire conversation between Mr. Khaleq and the woman he attempted to victim shame. I obliged her by adding a link to the original post in my thread. I explained to her that I didn’t think the conversation warranted his attack on this woman. In fact, I explained that there is nothing that warrants such an attack. To his wife I say shame on you!

She then adds screenshots of the woman her husband verbally attacked with his victim shaming antics and other folks to prove this woman was at fault. I still can’t find the reasoning behind that, but here is the post, maybe you can help to clarify it for me. All the while, his wife is debating whether this woman deserved to be victim shamed I continue to inquire about why she is not concerned with the attitude her husband projected on this woman and how he felt justified in publicly making light of rape and stating that the woman gave the worst felatio he had ever had. For some reason, me sharing his public disparagement of this woman was more shameful in her eyes than the actions of her husband.

But she was not alone. Mr. Khaleq then attempted to say that Code Red Flag is a messy page who tried to shame him and had the audacity to ask his friends to imagine if the energy exuded would go to the positive things they do in the community. You see, In Mr. Khaleq’s mind victim shaming isn’t a big thing. So, calling it out and attempting to change the culture that makes it ok is a waste of energy. Especially since he does other things in the community that are good. Shame on you Mr. Khaleq. That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.

He claims to have helped student athletes procure scholarships to go to college. While that is admirable, that doesn’t give him a pass at victim shaming. Did it give Jared Fogle a pass? Did it give Sandusky a pass? No, the shame of their actions is a consequence because society said NO! Shame on you. Your good deeds don’t make you beyond reproach. If you believe that good deeds makes a victim shamer, misogynist, racist, pedophile or rapist beyond reproach then shame on you!

Now I wish that could be the end of the story. Or I wish at some point he would have showed some remorse and apologized. Instead, he welcomed the energy as good publicity for his business, Lets Talk Sports Nation which is broadcasted by Comcast on Channel 29 in the San Francisco Bay Area. So, no remorse, no apology, just pride in the attention he was receiving for victim shaming. Shame on you!

I wish that we lived in a world where victim shaming wasn’t accepted. A world where people wouldn’t ask a victim what she was wearing, whether she flirted, whether someone who victim shames her was a good enough man to have sex with years before (yes, a few of his friends joined him in attempting to shame her instead of chastising him for what he did wrong). But unfortunatley, until good, decent people start saying No, Shame On You!” people like Mr. Khaled, his wife, and his friends will continue to circumvent any and all consequences for their actions because as the saying goes, “she was asking for it.”

Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” Survivors of sexual abuse do not appreciate your neutrality. They don’t appreciate the part you play in rape culture. They don’t appreciate you benefitting from their oppression. So, pick a side. Are you going to stand with rape culture or against it? I’ve made my decision. Hopefully, your decision does not bring shame to you, your family, friends, community or your brand as it did Mr. Khaleq.
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Written by Dena Reid, Esq., Founder of Code Red Flag and Amazon bestselling author of Flag On The Play. Ms. Reid is also a legally trained Conflict Mediator/Coach who specializes in family and domestic disputes. Ms. Reid writes an advice column, hosts events, facilitates workshops, and speaks nationwide on a variety of topics. For more information email info@coderedflag.com.

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