I have some ideas as to why we victim blame, I have only studied 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.
As this post was 1500 words long I have divided it into two parts.
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
5 – The perpetrator got there first
Again I have lived through this and it was hell. My attacker went around telling everyone I had agreed to the assault. Except he didn’t tell them it was an assault. He went so far as to say that the reason people hadn’t seen me for a while is that he wanted to keep me for himself and didn’t want me going out. He intentionally lied to all mutually involved saying that I was his submissive and he owned me so that if and when I said anything he’d already covered his tracks. This person was so used to lying that nobody thought to question it, telling everyone the intimate details of the encounter from his perspective. Twisting them just enough to make it sound like a consensual hookup, sugar-coating and stretching the truth to suit him.
6 – Regret sex
There is a theme in the media of regretful sexual encounters being turned into rape. This has been so prevalent that last few years I was actually trying to convince myself that’s what had happened to begin with. I stupidly tried to convince myself that my mind was playing tricks on me and trying to turn it into a rape. The reality is even though I was actually saying no and that I didn’t want to he carried on, and when I tried to move away he restrained me. When I bit him he pulled back and used his hands instead. At no moment did I consent, I did the opposite and in that case, it’s not regret. Something much worse happened.
7 – Why didn’t you fight back?
This question just winds me up, anyone who knows me can clearly see that I’m small! I am feeble, weak and dainty, I don’t think I could fight a grown man a good 25cm taller than me. I also think my fight or flight reflex kicked in at some point because I just froze. Sometimes I do ask myself this question. I don’t know why I didn’t fight back but I hate to imagine what would have happened had I even tried it. He probably would have hit me, could have restrained me harder. I don’t think I want to know, I think I would rather live with my ghosts as they are rather than imagine worse ghosts, or even more ghosts. One thing is sure though, I would not have won otherwise he would have left when I said that I didn’t want him there. He wouldn’t have stayed when I was specifically saying no.
The real problem with victim blaming and other similar attitudes are that they marginalize a victim and discourage them to involve legal charges or even talk about the violence they had to go through again. In my personal experience when I told someone connected to me and my attacker I knew I would never tell anyone else connected mutually again just because of her reaction. I didn’t feel safe, I felt quite the opposite. I felt ridiculed, shameful and stupid. I actually felt guilty because of what they were saying about me, and as me speaking out snowballed I was petrified by the threats that my aggressor had been making though other people. I would get messages saying that when he gets back from his holiday he’ll make sure I leave the building. To watch out because he was angry. It was so painful being blamed for something horrendous that I had no real control over. I think we start off by or finish by blaming ourselves depending on who surrounds us, I was pushed pretty low down by people who I naively thought would help me. I didn’t realise how big of a thing victim blaming was until I experienced it first hand and from what I experienced I am sure that it only gets worse.
I am a survivor because I didn’t let it beat me down in the end. I found strength, I got out and I have rebuilt my life. I was, although, a victim for longer than I would like to think about. I probably still am in some respects.