Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably at least heard about the current controversy surrounding this summer’s season of Bachelor in Paradise. The reality show, famous for bringing together a group of former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants for a few weeks of partying in Mexico, has halted production on its fourth season, which was slated to premiere on August 8 of this year.
The controversy is confusing, especially because nothing is a known fact yet. Here’s what we know: There was an “incident” involving two contestants, DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios. Both contestants were intoxicated, and together they engaged in “sexually explicit relations,” relations for which Corinne was reportedly not consensual. A producer filed a third-party complaint against the production regarding “allegations of misconduct,” and filming was subsequently halted. It is currently unknown whether or not the season and series will ever continue, but an investigation is currently underway in lieu of production. We don’t know what exactly went down between DeMario and Corinne, but we do know that Corinne just released her first official statement, in which she says that she is a victim, and that her biggest nightmare has become her reality.
It’s been reported that DeMario believes that the release of the official footage would exonerate him from any sexual assault allegations. We may never know exactly what happened in those lost hours of June 4, 2017, but the Internet is drawing a lot of conclusions. For those of you who did not watch Corinne on Season 21 of The Bachelor, it’s important to note that she was portrayed as a villain on her season. To viewers, Corinne appeared promiscuous and immature. We’ve already discussed the role producers play in portraying Bachelor contestants and how it can negatively affect their lives. I keep hearing people say things like, “It’s no surprise that Corinne is in the center of a controversy,” and I’ve seen a variety of tweets regarding Corinne, her behavior, and her role in the incident.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 12, 2017
Is she really a victim or jus some girl who acted like a slut & regretted it,so now she says she’s a victim.
— Rí$զմ3 (@zsquad_Mixers) June 14, 2017
— Nicole Angel ✌ (@MsAngel80) June 12, 2017
Regardless of the details, we know that a woman is claiming to have been treated in a way to which she did not consent. We know that sexual assault has been claimed – a claim that should NEVER be taken lightly. The fact that these accusations were made should never be taken lightly, and blame should not be misplaced.
The more we learn about this situation, the more we can place blame on those responsible for the incident. But do not blame the victim. Do not blame a woman who, like you and I sometimes do, had too much to drink at a party and is unsure of what happened next.
By making it seem like the victim is at fault for whatever repercussions come from his or her alleged attack, we hinder other (proven) victims from seeking the mental, physical, and emotional help to which they are entitled but might be afraid to seek.
By blaming the victim and shaming someone who was potentially attacked, we run the risk of scaring off past and future victims from telling their stories and getting the help they do need. By making it seem like the victim is at fault for whatever repercussions come from his or her alleged attack, we hinder other (proven) victims from seeking the mental, physical, and emotional help to which they are entitled but might be afraid to seek. If we shame a woman who is a part of a story that has not even yet been proven, what will we say to a woman who is in the middle of her own personal proven nightmare?
If Corinne was assaulted, it was not her fault. It is certainly not her fault that we may never see another episode of Bachelor in Paradise. The fact that this even needs to be stated seems moot, but apparently it needs to be said.
Regardless of how the story of Corinne and DeMario plays out, SEXUAL ASSAULT IS NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT. The fault is ours if we allow disgraceful behavior to continue without supporting the victims among us. We are all responsible for the way we treat others and the way people treat each other around us. Stand up, speak out, and love each other. It’s that simple.