What does blaming the victim say about us?

What does blaming the victim say about us- (1)

Think about these news headlines:

Marines Being Investigated for Sharing Nude Photos of Female Colleagues-NBC New York

Tennessee teacher suspected in 15-year-old’s kidnapping arrested; teen found safe.-Fox

Three O’Reilly sexual harassment accusers speak out-MSNBC

Right now, you have a story in your mind about the perpetrator and the victim. Some of you side with the victim while others believe the accused. When something horrific happens the mind goes into a narrow focus of black and white thinking, which explains why people take sides. I agree, there are cases of people being accused of crimes they did not commit. Why is it that when the evidence is overwhelming that people blame the victim or feel the victim of the crime has more responsibility than the perpetrator?

From my experience as a licensed psychotherapist, I have discovered the following reasons:

There is a lack of empathy for others and ourselves- When you hear a story about a crime that happened to another person it arises a feeling of judgment within you. It is easy to say after hearing a story that you would have handled it differently. The truth is you do not know how you would cope until you are in it yourself. You can give a good guess, it is something else to live and act in the moment.

It is uncomfortable sitting with your own inner victim. To identify with the victim of a story you need to acknowledge that there were times in your own life that you were victimized or felt vulnerable and there was nothing you could do about it at that time. Many cannot handle this truth and instead reject it, projecting their anger onto the victim.

You don’t want to accept that it is not a just world- Bad things happen to people and they did not ask for it or bring it upon themselves by what they did or did not do. Sometimes bad things happen to good people because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. This randomness to the world is a scary concept.

It is easier to blame others believing they deserve what they got rather than admit this could have happened to me. The proverb, there but for the grace of God go I, admits this recognition that others’ misfortune could be one’s own and there are parts of our lives that are out of our control. The good news is you can always choose how to respond to any event.

Denial about the perpetrator –Sometimes the person harming others is someone you know or could even be a family member or friend. It is difficult to accept that someone you love could commit a crime. This very truth can cause people to shift the focus of responsibility from perpetrator to victim. You may wonder what the accused person’s behavior says about you as a person. Their behavior, as an adult, is their responsibility. What others do has nothing to do with you.

Lack of acceptance of your own inner perpetrator –As I stated earlier you have an inner victim but you also can have an inner perpetrator or bully. Is there something that you have done that you are having trouble facing that was hurtful to yourself or others?

Blaming the victim drains your life force of energy because you are negating the vulnerable parts within yourself and putting your focus on someone else’s life. You do not know the life lessons and growth for other people but you can work on yourself.  We are all here to learn from one another and ourselves, whether we find ourselves in the position of a victim, a perpetrator or a witness.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empathic healers who feel drained after their helping efforts refill and recharge their energy with counseling and angel card reading sessions. Helping sensitive souls not only survive but shine! Get her 10 page E-book FREE called 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at www.lisahutchison.net

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16 thoughts on “What does blaming the victim say about us?

  1. I worked as an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and have a fairly “hair trigger” response to victim-blaming. Perpetrators often take advantage of a power imbalance to commit their crimes and, unfortunately, systems skew to homeostasis e.g. in this case, protecting the powerful. Thanks for letting me vent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said!!! So much of it comes from the thinking “what goes around, comes around”. The “You did something to bring it on yourself.” It’s an embedded belief whether we know it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a good post, and victim shaming takes so many forms…often without people even realizing the victim is being shamed! All of the double standards that exist drive me batty also. I’m tired of “boys will be boys” being used as a way to somehow make behavior alright. While I wish I felt that we’ve come a long way, I fear we truly haven’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sherry. I have come to the same realization; feeling women have not come as far as I thought we were in society. This awareness has fueled me to write this blog and be open to more possibilities to raise awareness and bring about change.

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  4. I don’t understand blaming the victim. They are the one who needs to feel supported and safe. Healing is key for the victim and compassion is needed from those supporting them. There should be no tolerance for people who attack, bully and physically harm another.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So many covert and overt ways to shame or to justify why it’s okay for the act of abuse to happen in this case and it’s not okay for the act to happen in that case. We all watched it happen in the national stage last October.

    Like many women, i’ tired of the boys will be boys Attitude. Case in point, the college swimmer. I was appalled at the judge’s leniency in sentencing.

    I’d like to think that I withhold judgement until all the facts and evidence have been provided. But I’m human. Judgement happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember that case well Peggy and agree it was a travesty of justice. I believe not all judgment is bad or should be gotten rid of. We need discernment in our society to guide what is moral and immoral behavior.

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