Growing up with a decent knowledge of western Christianity and the UK media I think I have some ideas as to why we blame the victim. I was raised with solid morals, and the type of people who get raped are horribly portrayed as heathens or whores in the eyes of my social circles. I have studied psychology but only child psychology, so it is very important to emphasise that this is only my perspective and I am in no way a professional or qualified in such a way as to give a proper reason. I could be completely wrong, I could be downplaying victim blaming, but to me this is it and this is what I have experienced. I would love to hear more opinions on this subject. I put on Twitter and Facebook my #MeToo but didn’t dare explain more to my family. They are liberal but I don’t think they would cope with such a shock, I’ve already been criticised enough about breaking up with my first fiancé, I don’t need more.
Victim blaming comes from misunderstandings in our society that a victim or survivor is somehow always partly or shockingly fully to blame for their actions. Victim blaming or victim accusing happened to me first when I was being bullied at school, I was told by teachers it was my fault repeatedly while they refused to act.
Victim blaming is a devaluing act where the victim of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment is held as wholly or partially responsible for the wrongful conduct committed against them. Victim blaming can appear in the form of negative social reactions from legal, medical, and mental health professionals, as well as from the media and immediate family members and other acquaintances. Traditionally, victim-blaming has emerged in racist and sexist forms. The reason for victim blaming can be attributed to the misconceptions about victims, perpetrators, and the nature of violent acts. – Quoted from USLegal
1 – We’re uncomfortable
The first reason I can think of is that we’re not comfortable. I don’t think this is always intentional victim blaming, but it’s not helpful. We don’t want to hear their story so we shut it down, we call out their faults in the hope they’ll stop talking. It’s easier for us to hide from the reality of their broken world and stay in our happier world. By blaming a victim we can distance ourselves from them and their story, and reassure ourselves that we’re not like the said victim. It’s reassuring for someone who isn’t a victim to know they’re not like a victim and they don’t do said actions that lead to the attack, thus it cannot happen to them.
2 – Women are commonly seen as faulty or asking for it while men are seen as macho
Misogynistic opinions that are rampant in our society means that if a woman wears too short of a dress or is showing too much cleavage she is viewed as asking for it. Sadly this isn’t true and should never be seen as a valid excuse to sexually assault someone. In summer if I were to grope a half-naked man’s chest I can imagine there would be some kind of repercussions, so why would it be okay for someone to do that to a woman even if she is wearing skimpy clothing? Thankfully women have begun speaking out, SlutWalk exists. Women are meant to be seen as pure, not as whores or promiscuous. Whereas men are meant to be seen as macho, they’re allowed to sleep around. These gender stereotypes of a sexual double standard are so harmful.
A lock that gets opened by many keys is a shitty lock, a key that opens many locks is a master-key.
3 – We want to deny monsters exist
Really linking back to the first point of being uncomfortable. There are monsters among us and recently again I got too close to one. Nobody seems to have the courage to involve the police in these cases. Victim blaming and fear of victim blaming leads us to feel very ashamed meaning that we are giving too much power to these monsters and they hide among our friends in full view of the world. Would you like to imagine your neighbour is a rapist? It could be true, even your own family members could be. Not all monsters are creepy, some are charming and use this as a way of lulling you into security before attacking.
4 – Egotistical people
I went through this. Some egotistical narcissistic friend couldn’t gain anything from helping me. I would occasionally be given food and told that it would get better, that I was in their thoughts and prayers. This was just so they had someone to appear charitable with, nothing more. There was no gain for them to put me in their spare bedroom, at least not for them. I was left festering while this person would tell everyone they were praying for me.
As this post was over 1500 words long I have decided to split it into two parts, part two will be coming shortly.