When you’re a woman who watches the news, tragedies cease to be surprising. So when I heard that Kim Kardashian had been robbed, gagged, and bound by culprits disguised as policemen who took approximately $11 million–worth of jewelry, I was horrified. But not surprised.
Instead, it was the public’s response that shocked me.
“I hope you’re ok now Kim, I think it a message from God warning you, before that you didn’t care anything or anyone but now it’s time,” user anneu9999 commented on Kim’s Instagram, days after the event.
“Pls post something,” official_dnk commented.
“Inside job. That is a FACT,” kazarsdreamsoap_official commented.
“stay safe bby” myfemales commented, adding a heart emoji at the end.
Last summer, my house was burgled. (Burgled means that no weapon was used.) My keys were on the kitchen counter, so they took my car as well, which is larceny. When the police visited my house, one of them explained to me that my car, if returned, might be beat up. It might smell like weed and smoke and have burns in it. If I got it back at all, I would be lucky.
I cried, and they told me that this is why you don’t leave keys on the kitchen counter.
What happened to me comes nowhere near to what Kim suffered in Paris. (Especially because I got the car back, untouched, with half a bottle of vodka the drivers had left for me in the back seat.) But there’s a striking similarity between my own experience, Kim’s, and those of women everywhere who are victims of crime.
The public discourse about Kim’s robbery—asking whether it was done for fame, whether she deserved it, and whether, maybe, she can benefit from it and become a better person—shows this.
As I read through the comments, I realized that most women are indeed questioned about the crimes committed against them. Women who are assaulted are asked why they walked home alone or why they let him in the apartment. Why they left their keys on the kitchen counter that night.
I don’t understand why we’re asked these things.
I don’t understand how people can use Kim for their entertainment, for their contour inspiration, as a punchline, as a body to lust over—but can’t feel sympathetic when something tragic happens.
Let’s not forget Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy in 2013, which prompted young men everywhere to insist that her legendary breasts were larger than life—Jolie’s life, that is.
People questioning Kim’s robbery upsets me. In reality, what could she gain from this? To those who say she made it up, what do you believe her motive is? Is it because you think she wants to be famous? She already is. Is it because you think she’s beautiful? Tell me again why that matters.
Victim blaming has become a bigger part of national conversation these days, and for that I’m grateful. I think what we should learn from this, however, is that it can take different forms. It’s not just about walking home alone or drinking out with friends—it’s about the attitude of judgement we collectively take when we hear about something bad happening to people that we considerable “untouchable.”
Most recently, Kim has publicly blamed herself for the robbery, saying it was her fault for showing off her $4 million ring on Snapchat. She’s refusing to let her husband, Kanye West, replace it, and she plans on scaling back her public appearances. I hear this and can only imagine how scared she must have been when strange men had her physically tied up and gagged.
Because honestly, can you even imagine that?
Did you even bother trying?