Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Missing the Mark: Who Gets the Blame?

 “People may not realize the damage that they are doing by placing the blame on the victim, but that doesn't lessen the damage that they cause by doing it.”

― Darlene Ouimet 

The defendant was standing in front of the judge.

He was arrested for stealing a brand new luxury car.

He was facing a minimum of a dozen years behind bars.

As he was standing in front of the judge (he waived his right to a jury trial), about to make his final plea for leniency, he said the following words:

“Your honor, in all fairness, he did leave the car unlocked”.

The judge turns to the defendant and says “You’re right, it is the fault of the car owner. It was, afterall an unlocked car and it is the newest BMW. The car owner should have known better”. 

The judge gives the defendant a nominal fine and insists to the gallery that the defendant has learned his lesson.

What type of reaction does the above story cause you to have?

Understanding? Rage? Sympathy? Anger?

The story about the judge and the auto theft is fiction. 

However, if you replace “judge” with “our community” and “auto theft” with “sexual abuse” the story is accurate.

The problem was how she dressed.

The problem is yichud

The problem is the lack of cameras

The problem is intergender therapy/doctor visits

The problem is tznius

The problem is that the victim is just seeking attention

The problem is the internet/iphones

The problem is …

Lack of protection is NEVER a cause.

They are two separate and independent items.

Obviously one should be wearing a seatbelt in a car, but the lack of wearing a seatbelt does not absolve the drunk driver who causes the crash.

Likewise one should be careful with the laws of yichud, but the mere fact that two people ended up alone in the same location does NOT mean that one party gave permission to the other to abuse them.

Yichud is a “fence”, a protective measure implemented to prevent a transgression. Just like locking your car doors.

In both cases, the lack of a protective measure doesn’t permit the transgression.

The problem is the abuser, only the abuser and nothing but the abuser. 

Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.

To speak with Yisroel about presenting at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at

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