Have you heard the term “victim-blaming” before? Do you have any idea what that means? Have you ever held a victim responsible for their actions?
I want you to keep reading this article whether or not you know the answers to the above questions because this article is for everyone.
The practice of holding victims of crimes or catastrophes responsible for what happened to them is known as victim-blaming. Victim blaming gives people the feeling that such things would never happen to them. In rape and sexual assault cases, blaming the victim is common, with the woman being accused of provoking the attack due to her clothes or behavior.
What’s sadder than a society that persuades victims that they brought their own bad luck on themselves?
Victim blaming has become ingrained in a toxic mentality that has lasted far too long in our society. When a victim of injustice is held largely or wholly responsible for the harm they have suffered, this is known as scapegoating.
Does the definition ring any bells to you after you’ve read it? No?
If that’s the case, consider the following examples:
“Oh, he was robbed last night because he was out too late.” That wasn’t something he should have done.”
“What did you think when you put your wallet in your back pocket?” How could you be so irresponsible? You’re well aware that there are crooks everywhere!”
“She’s a girl! She shouldn’t have gone home alone so late at night! She was raped because of this.”
“Yeah! She had asked it! Not only was it late, but she was basically asking for it. “Her dress was far too revealing!”
Rather than accepting that no one wants to be pickpocketed, robbed, or worse, sexually assaulted, we blame the victims.
HOW DOES VICTIM-BLAMING AFFECT CRIME SURVIVORS?
Many persons who have been the victim of a crime feel guilty and ashamed of themselves. Victim blaming can exacerbate feelings of shame and make it more difficult for victims to seek treatment and support because they are afraid of being shamed or judged further for their “part” in the crime or attack.
Being a victim of crime is terrible enough, but being blamed for the crime, even subtly or unconsciously, can make a person feel like they’re being attacked again, leading to depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress.
Victim blaming may also prevent victims from reporting crimes. Survivors of crimes may be hesitant to report the incident for fear of being accused, criticized, or misunderstood. This is frequently the case with victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault. Some claim that victim-blaming contributes to rape culture or a society where people make excuses for the offender rather than support the victim.
A well-known example of victim-blaming:
Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old girl from Salt Lake City, Utah, was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom in 2003. Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, her kidnappers, held her captive for the next nine months. Many people questioned why she hadn’t tried to flee or identify her name after her release, and facts of her captivity became public.
These types of questions are unfortunately common after people learn of a tragic event. Why do so many people appear to “blame the victim” for their circumstances after such a horrific crime?
When word of a woman being raped first broke, many people wondered what the victims were wearing or doing that could have “provoked” the act. Others often ask why victims were out so late at night or why they did not take further precautions to protect themselves from the crime when they are mugged.
What was she wearing, and what was she doing out at that hour? Nobody ever asks, “Did he get caught?” How could he do that? Is he oblivious to the concept of consent? For every rapist on the loose, society is the criminal at hand. People are eager to criticize the woman’s status before being raped or harassed, rather than focusing on the criminal and its punishment.
My final thoughts:
Criminals do not need a reason to attack; they simply attack. Nothing, and we repeat, nothing, but the rapists, rationalize or causes rape. Not her sexuality, her clothing, her ideals, or her way of life.
For far too long, we’ve been asking the wrong questions. For far too long, we have excused the horrific side. Why should criminals’ sentences be carried out in private if they commit their crimes in public? Stop interrogating and shaming victims. Begin to hang the rapists.