By INDIRA MOOSAI
Kim Kardashian West’s recent assault and robbery left everyone frantically tweeting their opinions, eager to comfort and confront the clearly traumatized reality star. Many comments ranged from cruel to downright misogynistic. Yes, she is extremely rich. Yes, she has a reality show that people tend to make fun of. Yes, she was once only married for 72 days. That makes her pretty pathetic, right? Someone like this deserves to get robbed, tied up, held at gunpoint, begging for her life and wondering if she’s ever going to see her children again. Right?
In the public eye, Kardashian West is depicted as spoiled, rich and famous for nothing — essentially, the perfect target for mockery. But a genuine, traumatic incident should evoke empathy, not laughing emojis, sadistic jokes, and harsh comments saying that she “deserved” it for showing off her wealth. In addition, many of these comments were undeniably sexist. A few stated:
“For those sympathizing with Kim Kardashian. Don’t worrry, that whore is probably happy for getting another story to sell” – Farrah ✱
The stark truth is that this way of thinking leads to the false justification of violence against women. It is a real issue that, as we can see in this troubling case, many are re-emphasizing. It doesn’t matter what the reasons are — a victim is not to be blamed for a crime. When a large amount of people’s reactions are to laugh and make fun of a woman in trauma, it goes to show what kind of community we are fostering — one where women’s violence is constantly thought of as a joke; it is even twisted so that the woman is to blame. This, in turn, leaves other women hesitant to report crimes committed against them. It is a cycle that has been repeating over and over again, as evidenced by the normalized, community shaming continued to this day. Every woman has the right to not have her life threatened, and victim blaming is the source of this vicious cycle.
Kim Kardashian West is also a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend. It is important to humanize her. However, even without these roles, she is a human being, entitled to the same rights as everyone else.
According to a close family source that spoke to People Magazine, Kardashian West has even started blaming herself, upset that she snapchatted her ring and wore it all the time; she also doesn’t want her stolen ring to be replaced, wanting to cut back on the luxurious lifestyle because of fear. The society we live in is a haven for taunting the victim, so much so it can cause unnecessary trauma.
This lack of empathy and eventual desensitization to human beings, no matter who they are, is a terrible path for us to take. In fact, it is part of what has lead to some of the most catastrophic events in history. Take, for example, Hong Kong rape victims. According to the Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong was reported to have a sharp increase of rape victims — as much as 60%. In response to the dramatic rise, Hong Kong’s security secretary, Lai Tung-kwok, said, “Some of these cases… involved the victims being raped after drinking quite a lot of alcohol. So I would appeal that young ladies should not drink too much.” This is a ridiculous statement coming from a figure of authority; it goes to show that those in power themselves can fuel the cycle of victim blaming. Victim blaming stems from the insecurities within ourselves: she deserved it because of this and that — so that could never happen to me.
There are lessons to be learned from this incident and our reactions to it. In all honesty, we are the ones responsible for our own thoughts and actions; we can either knock each other down to make ourselves feel more secure, or we can lift each other up for the communal good. The way we treat fellow humans says a lot about our character, and makes us ask ourselves — is our lack of humanity acceptable?
Indira Moosai can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org