A young girl murdered; the blame game begins
The June abduction and murder of an 8-year-old Jacksonville girl has many people holding their children a bit closer lately. It also has some people pointing fingers in blame. Police say the girl was kidnapped by a man from a Wal-Mart after promising the girl’s mother to buy the family clothes and food. The mom had apparently allowed the man to take the girl to a restaurant at the front of the store alone. That was the last time anyone saw the 8-year-old.
Comments I’ve overheard and read on social media indicate some people blame the mother for what happened to her daughter. A few are even calling for the mother to be criminally charged. Did the mother make a bad decision? Arguably. Is she to blame for the death of her daughter? I say no.
This designation of blame makes me think of the several women I have seen in therapy who were sexually assaulted while drunk. After their assaults, they hear messages that they’re to blame for their own rape because they drank too much. I try to remind these women that if they’re drunk, even amongst strangers, most people will leave them alone; a few may try to help them get home safely. However, on occasion, a creep will take advantage of the situation. He won’t have become capable of sexual assault because someone was intoxicated; he would have been capable of that long before she took her first drink. A fellow therapist summarizes it best: “No one gets raped unless there’s a rapist in the room.”
It’s with this idea in mind that I argue most people who that girl encountered that June night would have done her no harm and some may have even been nice to her. However, it was a creep that took advantage of a family down on its luck and did the unthinkable.
I’m not an attorney, so I can’t say who’s legally at fault. I’m just hopeful that the desire to make sense of an awful situation doesn’t drive us to assign blame when our energy might be spent more wisely on figuring out how to protect our children from creeps.