Victim Blaming

Posted: October 5, 2011 in abuse, education, recovery, relationships, survival, survivor, trust, victim
Tags: , ,

Why is it that people often blame victims for crimes they did not commit or consent to?

People want to believe in a just world. This world view makes day to day life easier in a harsh world. After all, good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people… right?!?

Wrong!

So what happens when people are confronted with the reality that bad things happen to good people? That these tragic events could be not avoided once you have been trapped by an abuser?

It is easier to believe that the victim brought on the violence onto themselves, rather then believe that we are not invulnerable, that it could, in fact, happen to any one of us so easily.

It does not help that the “public face” of abusers is often charming and affable. They are typically seen as nice, kind, and caring people. To better hide their evilness, some have good standing in the community, and manage to get people on their side and liking them easily.

When the rose-coloured glasses are shattered, it is hard to believe that such a “fine, upstanding citizen” of the community could do something so horrific to a “loved” one. We do not want to believe that our judgement in another was so incredibly wrong. It is simply easier to deny, and then blame the victim.

This drives the silence that victims tend to keep – out of fear, shame, guilt… If the victim blames themselves, why not other people blame her as well?

In Toronto, a police constable warned university students not to dress like “sluts” if they wanted to avoid rape… Excuse me?!

This is a new type of victim blaming… A sort of victim-in-waiting in which women are constantly supposed to be on guard.

The message that “boys will be boys” is severely damaging as it takes the blame completely off of the perpetrators shoulders. The myth that women are the source of men’s happiness also perpetuates victim blaming.

So what to do about it?

Listen to the person who has been victimized. Be compassionate, and let them talk if they need to, or just let them be, if that is what they need.

Make it clear it is NOT their fault

Often victims of violence will do things that make them feel they will be less of a victim, no matter how irrational the action is.

I cut my hair that used to go down to my waist because I figured it was a liability. Men could easily subdue me by grabbing my long locks, and they did. Cutting it made me no less of a victim, however.

I lost and gained weight to make myself less appealing. However, that also did not work.

Changing the way I dress – same deal.

This shift in perception is called a trauma-based worldview. This means that our sense of invulnerability is shattered, as is any sense that the world is a safe and just place to be. Some of the affects – being less trusting, and more weary of others, more cynical – I do not necessarily think is a bad thing (in small, rational doses).

Being a victim of violence is ALWAYS the fault of the abuser. We cannot control the actions of others. But we can make it clear to those that would blame us that it is the abuser who is at fault.

Speak up, silence is deadly!

Stay safe

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Comments
  1. akarmin says:

    We are not a “victim,” although it sure seems like it at the time. That is only a role, and he does not respect roles. We can remind ourselves that we are still an equal member of the human race, no more and no less than he is. “I can be victimized” is an attitude that we have towards ourselves. It is a component of our self-doubt. We can use the current crisis as an opportunity to replace our negative self-attitudes with positive ones; “I am a worthwhile human being in spite of my faults and imperfections.

    • sweetsiren69 says:

      I completely agree. When I use the word victim, I say it without judgement and the typical societal connotations. However, simply being positive does not stop one from being traumatized or victimized. A positive outlook while healing from abuse is difficult to achieve and maintain, though not impossible. In my experience, a small dose of rational-wariness and rational-distrust lowers the risk of repeated exposure to abuse. Seeing the world as just does not make it so.
      If you have read other posts on my blog, you would see that I advocate self-worth and self-esteem at the most difficult of times. This is simply an issue of victim BLAMING, not telling yourself that “I am a victim”.

  2. People want to believe evil deeds are provoked because if they are not, then what? Demons lurk beneath human facades?

    Traditionally, women have been relegated to the lowest caste, held only slightly above animals.

    • sweetsiren69 says:

      True, and tragic. People do not want to believe that the world is an unjust place. It is similar to the way that most people can watch awful things on the news channels and be completely unaffected. They have this sense of invincibility that when challenged, becomes a threat to them.

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