Em-URGE-ing Voices

Your urgent thoughts, urging action

Some Thoughts Looking Back, and Looking Forward, on the Murder of Trayvon Martin

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April 10, 2012

Like so many others, we at Choice USA have been shocked and saddened by the murder of Trayvon Martin. The loss of such a young life is tragic, and the pain of that loss doesn’t dim now that the pursuit of justice has been put in motion.

We at Choice USA believe ensuring the safety and bodily autonomy of all people is paramount in creating a more just society. This includes the right to live without fear of being profiled, controlled, targeted, attacked, or killed. But that’s not always how it works. We want to live in a culture and society where all bodies are valued and that the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are truly inalienable. So when the media narrative around this case fell into the familiar tropes of blaming and smearing the victim, we can’t say we were surprised, but we were definitely angry.

A hoodie is simply a piece of clothing; it is not an excuse to kill someone. Just as a short skirt is no excuse to rape. Choice USA is standing up against violence and the culture of victim blaming that has become a natural occurrence in our country. Addressing the root causes of violence and those who commit violent acts is no easy task. But scapegoating the victims and forcing them to carry the sole responsibility of their victimization is surely not the answer. On this day and every day we say no to the response, “they were asking for it.” Because it doesn’t matter what someone is wearing, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, or gender identity expression – no one deserves to be a victim of violence for being who they are.

We hope that future victims of violence do not have to sustain the public victim blaming that was so reprehensible in this case. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Trayvon Martin and hope that they, and all victims of violence, receive the justice they deserve.

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