Jun 29, 2018

Anecdote about victim blaming


Anecdote about victim blaming photo

When my daughter was in first grade and her sister still in kindergarten, we decided to go to a local park for some play and bonding. I had been in their lives a mere few months and wanted to be able to have a bit of fun with them while daddy was at work. Unfortunately, it was summer and miserably hot outside. After ten minutes of being outside, the Peruvian girls my daughters had met suggested we take the fun indoors to a play area. I didn't know anything about the place so decided to follow them out of the heat and try to chat with the mother who didn't speak Japanese fluently and certainly no English either.

Four kids, all around 5 and 6 years old, in a small play area with an indoor slide designed for 3-year-olds and a bookcase, made for a bit of chaos. It was better than the heat outside. The girls wound up running around playing tag. I'll admit I didn't have much control of them, especially that day. I was merely trying to keep them contained to the play area. They continued to eat their snacks just outside the perimeter of the play area even though I told them it was a food free area. They didn't pay much attention to me telling them to not scream either. However, their loud crazy chaos doesn't warrant what happened that day though.

Near the bookcase was another family, a very hefty older man reading to a girl about the same age as my younger daughter. I saw her a few times attempting to play as well and at one point, she put her head down crying. My younger daughter came over to ask for the snacks back and as I was trying to tell her she had to eat it outside of the play area, I heard a large commotion behind me. When I turned around, I saw as the very large overweight adult male swiftly charged at my oldest daughter who was propped on a stuffed car and knocked her off with his hands around her throat. I was horrified and pissed. It was so sudden that all I could do was run toward them but the man had already pulled himself up off of my daughter.

A staff member came over and the Peruvian family quickly left, probably just as terrified as I was at that moment. But I did not want to leave. I wanted to call the police! I wanted to know that this wouldn’t happen again. So I explained to the staff what had happened and politely went with the man and the staff member to a corner of the community center. I asked my daughters to stay off to the side because I was not going to force them anywhere near this menacing man while I tried to explain what happened. However, I wasn’t allowed to talk at all. The staff member told me to be quiet while the perpetrator of the crime tried to explain away what he had done.

I was furious that I was told to stay silent, then about ready to pop when I was being blamed for why that man had attacked my daughter. I was being explained to, that what I saw must not have happened because the man had been to this community center many times and was a decent man.

It was my first time visiting and don’t know the rules like not eating in the play area and maybe I should have better control of my daughters. And the excuse the man gave for “merely scolding” my daughter was because she had made his daughter cry. She wouldn’t play with her and it made her sad. When the staff turned to me and asked if I was certain what I claimed to have seen happen really happened I could barely contain my rage. I stood up and in as decent of Japanese as I could muster told them I saw what I saw and walked out of there.

It was the absolute worse case of victim blaming I have ever been dealt. Because I am foreign and don’t know the unspoken rules my daughter deserves to have a full grown overweight man throw himself at her and throttle her.

We went home and I called my husband who graciously called the police for me. After work, he even went to the police station and talked to them. The police handled the situation so much better and went straight to the community center to fuss at the staff, then visited the man’s house to give him a warning as well. I feel much safer going to the community center because the police were so helpful.

For almost a year after the incident, my daughter wouldn’t leave our side when in public and I can use the occasion as a great example of "stranger danger" and why she should always let us know her whereabouts even if it is just at the nearby park.

To this day the staff member who clearly mishandled the situation won’t make eye contact with me and I am partly glad he doesn’t. I really hope nothing like this ever happens again to my family or anyone.



American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too


  • JTsuzuki

    on Jul 10

    Wow! That is terrifying and horrifying! What rage you must have felt! I am so glad you had the ability to walk away and get the police involved. I don't know if I would have been able to do the same.

  • edthethe

    on Jul 10

    @JTsuzuki If my husband hadn't called the cops for me I probably wouldn't. and I probably wouldnt be able to comfortably go back to the community center which we now visit almost once a week.