I’m a bad victim for a number of reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason is that I didn’t even immediately process that what was happening to me was sexual assault: I turned numb, unable to think or react, and stayed that way for several days afterward. My sympathetic nervous system — the “fight-or-flight” response — chose the third, lesser-known option of “freezing.” Most likely because of that, I think, my memory of the events before and after my assault is hazy, though I wasn’t drunk at all. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about at the restaurant beforehand, or what route we took to walk to my apartment, or what reason he gave for eventually leaving. I don’t even remember the exact date on which it happened.
These blanks in my memory give others a reason to doubt my story — what if I was just making it all up for attention? — despite the fact that my memory of the assault itself is crystal clear. Because I didn’t do everything right, because there is reason to doubt me, I am not a good victim.
In actuality, the “good victim” is a mythical archetype, simply a yardstick by which all other victims are measured. No one will ever be considered a good victim in our society, because there’s always something one can find for which to fault the victim. Once there’s anything at all to fault the victim for, she and her story lose all credibility and she becomes a bad victim."