Video: Franchesca Ramsey’s Powerful ‘How Slut Shaming Becomes Victim Blaming’

By Arturo R. García

Screenshot from Franchesca Ramsey’s video “How Slut Shaming Becomes Victim Blaming.”

Late last week, Franchesca Ramsey shared her immensely intimate and painful story regarding sexual assault as part of a critique of a video by comedian Jenna Marbles. The video and a transcript are under the cut, but be advised that it carries a heavy TRIGGER WARNING due to the subject matter.

Franchesca Ramsey: I had intended on making a hilarious video with wigs and green screens and costumes and characters. I changed my mind and instead decided to make a response video to Jenna Marbles’ “Things I Don’t Understand About Women: Sluts Edition.”

Clip of Jenna Marbles: The first thing I don’t understand about sluts is a one-night stand. A true one-night stand: when you meet someone, you’re out somewhere, and then you go home somewhere just to have sex with them. This concept is like [makes "mind-blowing" motion] to me. Maybe I’m at his house and, you know, he’s got big plans of chopping me up in little pieces and keeping me in his freezer for awhile. Maybe he’s got, like, 10 roommates in the other room that are all just waiting to close in and gang-bang you for the night. Help the sluts of the world make less bad slutty decisions.

FR: Two really amazing YouTubers have already done responses that I completely co-sign and think that they did a great job of explaining slut-shaming and why it is bad and how it lead to a really slippery slope, so make sure to check out videos by Laci Green and Hayley G. Hoover. I will link them in the video description box.

Laci did a really great job–and so did Hayley–of just kind of adding a disclaimer that this is not an attack on Jenna Marbles. This is really about a larger problem, and she’s just kind of opened the door to the conversation. I’ve decided to chime in here because I actually have personal experience with this. Awesome! Of all the things I never thought I’d be sharing on the internet, this is definitely one of them.

When I was 18, just past my 18th birthday, I was date-raped. That is how I lost my virginity. That’s my beautiful story about how I was deflowered.

For my 18th birthday, one of the girls that I worked with took me to a concert. She bought me concert tickets, and we went with her boyfriend and his roommate. Somewhere through the course of drinking all day and not really eating very much and kind of feeling pressured to drink because I was not really a drinker, when it was time to leave the concert, I was, like, beyond inebriated. Like, stumbling and slurring my words and having a hard time–and so clearly, I could not drive home. And, in retrospect, I don’t know if there was something in my drink because I’ve never, ever gotten like that post-the situation. I blacked out–like, donezo. Like, no recollection, was not conscious.

It wasn’t until the morning that I even realized that I had sex and I was like, “Wait a second, what, what happened? This doesn’t feel right.” And I asked my girlfriend and she was like, “Yeah, you totally had sex with him, you were like, so bad.”

I remember feeling mortified. Just thinking “Oh my God, why did this happen to me?” I mean, just all of those horrible thoughts going through my head, blaming myself. I told her, I begged her, “Please don’t say anything about this at work.” She told my co-workers. She told my manager, and they said horrible things about me. They called me a slut, and I was the running joke. I was the running joke at work. And because of that, I didn’t say anything.

I’m making this video because there are women that speak out about experiences that have happened to them, about their rape experiences. And time and again, everyone tells them, “Well, it was your fault. You shouldn’t have done this, you shouldn’t have done that.” No. Can we stop telling girls that they “shouldn’t get raped” and instead tell men to stop fucking raping women and to stop taking advantage of women?

And, you mean, you see it all the time. Most recently, there was a young woman who was 11 years old, I think it was in Texas. She was gang-raped by 20 guys. Eleven years old. The New York Times writes a story about it, and for some reason, the story continues to focus on how much makeup this young woman wore, how late she stayed out, and how “grown-up” and “sexily” she dressed. She was 11 and 20 guys raped her, and somehow it’s her fault.

You can be the “perfect person” and still get raped, and it would not be your fault. The same way you could make “tons of bad decisions” and engage in risky behavior on a daily basis, and if someone rapes you, it is the rapist’s fault, not yours.

I wish someone had said that to me. I wish I’d had someone that told me that it wasn’t my fault, that I should speak up.

(My camera stopped in the middle. It was like, “You’ve said enough!”)

It’s just scary to think how many women and girls have been in this same position and haven’t said something, or have been discouraged from saying something, because they in some way, shape, or form felt like it was their fault. Across the board, the only constant–because there are so many different scenarios where someone could be a victim of abuse; not just women, men, as well–the only constant is that person that makes the bad decision to hurt someone else.

I do think that it’s really great that Jenna touched on the idea of looking out for one another. If you see a woman that is in a potentially dangerous situation at a bar or what have you, there’s no reason that you can’t step and try to help her out. But, what I would add to that is, it shouldn’t just be a woman’s responsibility to look out for other women; there’s no reason that a guy can’t step in at a bar and say, “Hey dude, this girl is wasted, I don’t think she wants to go home with you. Let’s put her in a cab.”

One of the comments that was left on my Facebook page that I really liked was made by a young woman by the name of Regina, and she said something along the lines of, “It’s important to help victims, but it’s also important to prevent victims from happening.” And I really liked that because it’s not probably a good idea for anyone to blackout drunk, and I say that as someone speaking from experience.

I hope that I’ve added another perspective to this conversation in just kind of explaining why it’s important that we move away from slut-shaming and that we also promote being smart and being responsible to everyone, not just with a focus on women. There are people of all spectrums and walks of life that are affected by sexual assault and abuse, and the best way to prevent it and to make sure that those who are responsible are held accountable is to stop blaming our victims and to continue being smart and finding ways to protect ourselves and protect each other. I’ll see you guys later.

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