Volume 95, Issue 22

Thursday, October 11, 2001
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Unacceptable responses

Us? A friendly bunch of kids?

Student finds knowledge beyond school books

Unacceptable responses

Re:"Terrorism expert no. 352" and "Here's how to fix a flat tire," Oct. 3

To the Editor:

There was a time when an accusation of rape brought forth an ugly and hurtful series of comments minimizing the crime and blaming the victim. "She was asking for it" captures the essence of such comments.

In the last 20 years, we've made significant progress in this respect. Such comments no longer figure in the defence of an accused person. Attempts to blame the victim are rightly scorned not only in courts, but in everyday life.

It was disturbing, then, to witness the return of such sentiments in many letters to The Gazette following the terrorist bombing of New York and Washington, including letters from Curtis Jones and Matt Rae printed on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

The people killed by the terrorists were innocent victims – ordinary people just like us. To blame them, to speak, as Jones and Rae did, of "root causes" or "underlying causes" is to say, in effect, "They were asking for it."

Such sentiment both demonstrates an extraordinary insensitivity to people in mourning and sets the clocks back on attempts to develop a modern, sympathetic response to victims in general.

I call upon the university community to join me in regretting the sentiments expressed in those letters and stating unequivocally that blaming the victim is an unworthy and unacceptable response to tragedy.

Patrick Brown

Department of Psychology

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Copyright The Gazette 2001