Monday, April 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Am I blaming victims?

wade kelvin column sig copy

By
From page A11 | July 31, 2014 |

I’m going to tiptoe into a minefield this week.

ESPN’s Stephen Smith stepped in it last week when he implied that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s fiancée may have provoked Rice into knocking her unconscious at a casino bar in February.

His remarks created a firestorm with people saying he was blaming the victim. ESPN’s Michelle Beadle took to Twitter to call out Smith, tweeting, “I’m thinking about wearing a miniskirt this weekend . . . I’d hate to think what I’d be asking for by doing so @stephenasmith. #dontprovoke.” Smith apologized and has been suspended for a week.

But the incident provoked me to think about the broader issue of perpetrators and victims. The Rice case is horrific and there’s no justification for it. So to talk about what I’m about to talk about will be tricky, because nuance is out of vogue these days. None of my remarks here are about the Rice case or domestic violence. I had a brother who was an abuser and none of his actions were justified.

So in other circumstances, is it possible to talk about what potential victims can do to help mitigate their risk without sounding like we’re blaming the victim?

In the first case, it’s widely believed that Apple will be introducing a new iPhone in September. If I buy one and stroll through a bad area of town holding that new iPhone box in my hand and am robbed, while it’s the criminal’s fault, I didn’t make it hard for him.

We tell our daughters not to wear clothing that reveals too much skin. Why? We don’t want her character to be misjudged by her appearance and we don’t want her attracting the wrong kind of attention. Of course, no one would blame a sexual-assault victim because of the clothing she wore. Sexual assault is the responsibility of the perpetrator.

Fall is around the corner and kids will be going off to college. Is there anyone who wants their son or daughter to go to parties and get so blotto that they don’t recall the night’s events? Of course we don’t. And any young woman assaulted in a drugged or inebriated state is still a victim and the criminal responsibility belongs to the perpetrator.

Fairfield over the past few years has seen some young people assaulted and even shot in the wee hours of the morning. No one has the right to assault anyone. Victims aren’t responsible for their own beatings or shootings. But I don’t think any parent would say it’s a good idea for their teen to be out at 3 a.m.

Finally, I’ve written about an angry CHP officer stopping my friends and me in Cordelia years ago. The cop seemed like he wanted a confrontation. Even though I thought we’d done nothing wrong and the cop was out of line, I remained polite and compliant. My goal wasn’t to be right. My goal was to do whatever it took to keep the cop’s baton from contacting my head.

I realize the cognitive dissonance this issue can evoke, but every day we do things to minimize the chances of being victimized. We lock our doors and windows and/or set an alarm before we leave home. We lock our car doors. Some people carry pepper spray. If we can help it, we deliberately avoid high-crime areas.

I’m not blaming victims. I just want my grandkids and your kids and grandkids to minimize their risk. Peace.

Kelvin Wade, a former Fairfield resident, is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Sacramento. Email him at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 10 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • 2realJuly 31, 2014 - 5:26 am

    Batton to your head? Let me guess the officer was white? Come on kelvin you gotta get to the point where you stop pulling the race card.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarJuly 31, 2014 - 7:04 am

    Or perhaps it's you that needs to sto discounting others' experience in their skins?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJuly 31, 2014 - 8:39 am

    How is that "playing the race card?" The officer probably was white, and maybe Kelvin thought the officer was profiling him. Like that doesn't happen?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ThemisJuly 31, 2014 - 6:23 am

    As a woman who spends most of her time in T-shirts and baggy cargo shorts I assure you what a woman wears will not protect her from many of these demented sickos any more than being a law abiding and polite man insulated you from a an angry, power hungry member of law enforcement abusing his power under the color of law. Anti social personalities do not operate by the same standards as the rest of society for a variety of reasons. Analysis of their behavior through the lens of our normal world is futile. But make no mistake, nothing the victim does will change the aggressor's personality. If they feel entitled at any given time and they are so inclined at that moment, they act, without regard for others. That is the very nature of the personality disorder. "It's jungle sometimes makes me wonder how I keep from going under."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJuly 31, 2014 - 7:52 am

    Kelvin, I totally get it and could not agree more!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJuly 31, 2014 - 8:35 am

    Ditto. Now let's reflect again on the Trevon Martin case.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • clancyJuly 31, 2014 - 9:38 am

    Kelvin Your ideas are always do well written and make a lot of sense.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • More confusion......July 31, 2014 - 1:03 pm

    What was it that someone on 'The View' said? Something about if a woman hits someone, then expect to get hit back. Now that's interesting to hear--and from a woman no less.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • truth'nJuly 31, 2014 - 2:01 pm

    Why should that be anymore interesting than if a man said it about a man? Your bias is showing.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The SugarJarJuly 31, 2014 - 4:30 pm

    While explaining how to be careful has some positive purpose, it ignores the elephant in the room. Or if we discuss both race and gender relations, the elephants in the room. And the elephants in the room are the bigger problem (and more real) problem. Baby steps perhaps to notions of different experiences depending on what body we each occupy? To what "privilege" "clubs" we occupy? Interesting column Mr. Kelvin Wade, I look forward to more delving into the real, in whatever way you can.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

County action speeds Solano fairgrounds plan to next phase

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vacaville eyes ban on medical marijuana grows

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

Paint the Town Purple; and Roxie

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
City Coach hosts first block party

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Bid Corderos Park, city staff recommends

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

White minister fought for civil rights in the south

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Farmers markets herald return of summer

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Crash claims life of Concord teen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Denim and Diamonds fundraiser set May 16

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Biz Buzz: Budweiser kicks off new parks campaign

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
Biz Buzz: Dutch Bros. plans ALS fundraiser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

Biz Buzz: Company schedules pasta class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
 
Biz Buzz: NorthBay offers extended hours for primary care

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Biz Buzz: Retail store helps those with autism

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
Biz Buzz: Committee schedules contractors breakfast

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7

.

US / World

Picture it: A 1,000-year exposure showing a changing Earth

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Quake agony revealed quietly on trip from Nepal airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Corinthian Colleges to shut down all 28 remaining campuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
No time to lose: Global response to Nepal quake gears up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Japan’s prime minister goes to US to showcase close ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Israel says airstrike on Syrian border targeted militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Family, friends in Baltimore mourn death of arrested man

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
‘Batman’ killer studied brain disorders before mass murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Image from the quake: Heavy damage in Nepal ancient city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Fighting rages in Yemen’s 3rd-largest city, strikes continue

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Mountaineers, guides stream from Everest after avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Putin accuses US of supporting separatists in Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Death toll in Nepal quake rises to more than 3,200

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Late spring complicates already perilous amphibian migration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Former GOP chairman enters US Senate race in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Monday, April 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Parenting: How to set boundaries on screen time

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

 
Horoscope: April 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Horoscope: April 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My husband doesn’t want me to redecorate home he had with first wife

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Warriors confident after sweep of Pelicans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants-Rockies game postponed by rain

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Justin Rose wins in New Orleans for 7th PGA Tour title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Wall, Beal lead Wiz past Raptors 125-94 in Game 4 for sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Paul, Clippers even series with 114-105 win over Spurs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ko wins Swinging Skirts for 2nd straight year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Motorcycle rider from Livermore killed in Nevada race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Billy Andrade and Joe Durant win Legends of Golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cavs sweep Celts as James scores 27 in 101-93 victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
It’s here: Fight week begins with Pacquiao caravan to Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

American Pharoah completes final pre-Kentucky Derby workout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Newgarden claims first IndyCar Series win not far from home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Elizabeth Cepeda

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Kirk Noonan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Sandra King

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janis Ruth (Sefzik) Skinner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Rose is Rose April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Cryptoquote April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7