The Dynamics of Victim Blaming(25 Posts)
Have I drank too much wine or have about 60 posts been deleted from this thread?
Agree with OP. A relative of mine was raped, in broad daylight by a complete stranger.
You wouldn't believe the number of people who said... why didn't she scream for help, what was she doing, sitting in the sun, listening to a walkman with headphones?
I'm assuming this a new thread LadyBlahBlah.
It's dead true, unfortunately. I think perhaps it's an easy way of dealing with situations where we cannot understand why women end up in such horrific circumstances.
It's easier to blame the victim, that way we can fool ourselves it only happens to people who deserve it somehow, people who are different to us, it makes us feel safe.
I feel very uneasy about what has gone on.
It also means that a lot of victims do feel ashamed and don't talk about their experiences for fear of being judged.
Which perpetuates the myth that it is something to be ashamed of, which allows the abuse to continue.
I think you have to have put a lot of distance between yourself and the abuse before you can talk about it.
I still struggle to discuss my experiences in RL. Very few people know what happened. I usually find it comforting that women can talk freely on here and not be judged, it's very liberating.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Agree Dittany. It's very easy to put the blame on the victim. Why didn't she leave? Why did she put up with it?
I'm sure that I was guilty of some of these thoughts myself before I was a victim. And even then I constantly blamed myself. It was only afterwards when I learnt about trauma bonding and realised how low my self-esteem was, and just how good some of these men are at manipulating, that I questioned my own prejudices.
I am now much, much more sympathetic and understanding to women who have been in abusive situations because I understand the dynamics of what's gone on. I think a lot of people just don't want to think about it because it would cause them to question what the abuse actually means. It's much easier to blame a woman for not leaving, for example, than to question why a man might be abusive in the first place.
Because if we realise that there's a problem with him, we might actually have to start doing something about it.....
I am, however, uneasy in general with the idea that anyone who accuses another person of harming them should immediately and automatically be believed, even if the story's inconsistent or the accuser has previous form for dishonesty.
Mind you, that doesn't mean I would start interrogating a distressed individual who was telling me that s/he had been attacked or abused. I'm not the police, not hearing the story in an official capacity, it's not up to me to do anything about what I'm hearing so I would just offer sympathy and practical support if necessary.
Yes, and I think that's just too frightening a prospect for many people.
I have on a micro level in my own family. I have 2 brothers and they have gone to strip clubs and looked at porn. When I started campaigning against strip clubs, with Object, my mum sided with my brothers. It could have been a numbers game, 2 against 1, but somehow I think she just found easier to challenge my behaviour (I'd been brainwashed by a cult, she said!) than challenge her two sons.
I'm sorry to hear that you blamed yourself too. I think women do blame themselves too much which is why I am always keen to shift the focus back onto the men who are the ones abusing. Even the argument about Hooters girls choosing to work there, put forward by men all the time, is a way of abdicating all responsibility. They don't worry about their choice to go in because it's much easier not to challenge themselves. If the girls want to treated as sex objects then who are the guys to argue, or so they tell themselves.
I think I may have answered a question I put forward in another thread there!
My post above was in response to Dittany's btw.
Thanks Dittany. It's really nice to hear someone compliment me on it. As I'm sure you can imagine, it doesn't happen very often!
i think it's frankly BONKERS that you have been getting hassle about it, Jess, it's so clearly work on the side of the good.
victim blaming goes on all the time on here, dittany, the way tides turn on threads, and given people's propensity to herd behaviour. but if you stick your head up and say 'stop' then as you know it's just 'who the HELL do you think you are? etc'. (as you yourself know to your cost).
recently i have concluded that people are in general a great deal more stupid than i had given them credit for on here.
I think I am on the side of the right but there are plenty of people, men and women, who have popped up to say why are you telling other women what they can and can't do etc and labelling the whole thing as empowering. There has been a lot of support from those who see through the rhetoric and a lot of abuse from those who choose not to.
I'm conscious that I could distract from the main thread topic of victim blaming and I don't want to do that.
I do find it sad that some women expend their energy on putting other women down and arguing against those who are actively fighting against injustice. It is energy that could be used to support that person and fight the causes of abuse and oppression.
This issue depresses me so much. I was thinking about it after the recent thread on small sexual assaults which was really powerful for me. When you receive support you realise how damaging the other reactions that you have had are.
Everyone I turned too in real life either dismissed me or ripped my story to shreds. I got compassion from strangers on line not from the people I turned to in real life. How can that be right?
I really believe that if I had been supported the first time I dared to talk about what happened to me then I would not have had the years of struggling with what happened that I did have. I certainly wouldn't have had half the shame and guilt that I experienced.
I wish I knew how this could be changed.
Join the discussion
Please login first.