She Was Asking for It: The Whoopi Goldberg Defense

Whoopi Goldberg victim blames.

Apparently Whoopi Goldberg thinks women who fall victim to sex crimes shouldn't be surprised when it happens.

At least that's what her comments about Bella Thorne's nude picture hacking scandal suggest. "You don't take nude photos of yourself," said Goldberg on The View. "Once you take that picture, it goes into the cloud and it's available to any hacker who wants it, and if you don't know that in 2019, that this is an issue, I'm sorry, you don't get to do that."

Bella Thorne chides Whoopi Goldberg for nude photo hack criticism: 'shame on you' www.youtube.com


Essentially, Goldberg seems to be saying that when a woman expresses her sexuality, even in private, she needs to take responsibility if a man uses that to violate her safety or privacy. Make no mistake, hacking celebrities' private nude photos isn't some high-tech heist. "Hackers," in this scenario, aren't amorphous shadow people; they're men purposely trying to extort, overpower, and abuse women. This is sexual assault.

Bella Thorne responded via Instagram:

Bella Thorne Emotional Message for Whoopi Goldberg After Comments on 'The View' www.youtube.com


As all victim-blamers tend to do, Goldberg hears a story about a woman getting violated due to her sexuality, and instead of saying, "The person who violated her was a disgusting sex criminal who needs to be brought to justice," she makes excuses that the woman wasn't more careful. "She shouldn't have taken those nude pictures in the first place" is a victim-blaming argument that functions on the exact same logic as "she was asking to get raped." They're both stances that seem to just accept the idea that men are animals who can't control their urges, so the onus falls on women not to do things that will make men want to violate them.

Here's an alternative, hypothetical variant of Goldberg's quote wherein we replace hacking with rape. Let's see if it reads as level-headedly. "You don't wear a miniskirt. Once you wear a miniskirt, people can touch your body and it's available to for anyone who wants it, and if you don't know that in 2019, that this is an issue, I'm sorry, you don't get to do that."

For the people in the back––THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS. Everyone should be allowed to celebrate their bodies and sexualities, especially in private settings, without the fear that someone will attack or otherwise harm them for it. And if someone does harm them for it, the responsibility for that crime lies SOLELY on the shoulder of the person who commits it. That's how crime works.

A jewelry store that gets robbed isn't responsible just because it had something shiny in the window. The robber is. A woman who gets raped isn't responsible because someone else felt entitled to her body. The rapist is. And a woman who gets her private pictures hacked by someone who intends to extort, abuse, and violate her isn't responsible for the fact that someone else felt entitled to her intimate moments. The hacker is.

Bella Thorne is absolutely right. Whoopi Goldberg's comments truly are "disgusting" and show disdain towards women as a whole. She should be ashamed.

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