Blaming the Wrong Person


A woman in my neighborhood posted on ND, letting people know that a man had been seen following women on a certain street in our neighborhood near the bars. She witnessed this while walking her dog. It was striking how many people berated the woman rather than asking her if she was ok, telling her thanks for the heads-up etc.

The most recent response, from a woman(!)

“YOU should not be walking in the dark making yourself vulnerable.”

My response:

Actually, people just should abide by the law, and not harass or menace or attack people.

No need for innocent people to be imprisoned inside their houses when some basic awareness, self-defense tips, and maybe pepper spray, will do.

We need to not shame & blame people for doing the basic everyday things like taking a walk, whether to run errands or go out to Main Street or just enjoy our beautiful beach neighborhood. Also, dogs need to be walked.

If we want to shame & blame someone, then we could shame & blame the violent criminals.

Also, we could push for the expansion of mental-health services for those who need help.

By the way, anyone in the Surfside Village/Main Street neighborhood who wants to walk but is afraid to walk, please text me and I will be happy to walk to your destination with you. I’m a 60-year-old woman so Im not superman or anything, but FWIW I have lived & worked in this neighborhood for years, and I walk at all hours.

Side notes:

• Interesting: It just occurred to me there is a parallel in how we blame the victims of capitalism. “They made bad life choices” etc.

• The woman making the post was sensitive to the danger of falsely accusing a person who might not have had bad intentions. For example, her post included something along the lines of “apologies to the man if you see this and aren’t bad-intentioned.” And when a vigilante type commented that people should carry their cellphones and take pictures, she said she wouldn’t feel comfortable posting the photo of a man who might be innocent.

• Crucial point: It used to be that when walking, especially at night, I was only focused on being alert so as to keep other women (and myself) safe. In recent times, I have realized I additionally need to stay alert as I walk, to do my best to make sure my presence as a white woman does not end up putting a Black man, or Black male child, in danger.