Monday, May 5, 2014

Victim blaming

I know I already wrote two articles about such subjects, but after "Silence" and "Domestic Violence", I feel that it is still necessary to talk about victim blaming. Of course, all three subjects are closely related. Domestic violence usually happens in silence, without people around it noticing. But it also happens in a bubble of blame and shame. By the victims' abusers, by themselves, by their family and friends, by the police or lawyers, or even strangers. So, how is that even possible? Hasn't a victim had enough trouble in his/her life to at least deserve to face his/her story? 

Obviously, the abuser finds many ways to blame his/her victim for his own actions, as he/she tries to find a plausible explanation for what he/she did. The victim blames him/herself because he/she feels guilty for not stopping what happened to him/her, as if he/she let the abuser do his/her job. The abuser generally calls his/her victim nasty names that the victim will internalize, because society seems to say that the victim could have avoided being in such a situation if only he/had or had not worn, did, answered, etc. this or that, because the police, or lawyers, or representative of law and order will ask him/her many questions that will imply that she/he had something to do with his/her assault, or even because people around him/her will seem to avoid him/her, as if he/she had done something wrong. Strangers, family, society, and representatives of justice and order will tend to imply those things because they simply don't want to hear that someone normal could have been a victim of an assault, because that would mean that they're just as inoffensive as him/her. Now who would want that? 

People prefer to turn their back on victims and believe in a supposedly fault to blame on the victim so that the abuser's act is somehow explained, and so that the illusion of being safe is restored. You probably think I'm, again, overreacting, but the thing is that, sadly, I am not. This happens all the time. Victims are blamed for crimes they had nothing to do with. A girl who's been raped never asked for it by wearing a skirt, and anyone who tries to believe that or make her believe that is either a hypocrite or a psychopath, but still, that's the kind of things that a girl who's been raped has to put up with. There is no way such an act is explainable, and yet, it happens all the time. And the worst part is, that most of the time, it happens in homes, between people who supposedly love and care for each other, which makes it even more difficult both for the victims, and the people around them to realize what is happening inside their home. Victims are blurred by their feelings and the fact that they've become accustomed to being hurt on a daily basis, and find excuses for the abuser. 

You might think, that if you were in their situation you would act, do this or that, but the truth is that you never know what you're capable of, because it depends on the situation, on your personal health at the time, on your psychological state, on whether you have a family to support or not, if you have people that can help you around you or not, etc. There are countless factors that make each and every of these situations different, and complex to understand. What we should do is to, first, stop with these kinds of statements, because just by saying that, what you're implying is that the person who is a victim of any form of violence and who (supposedly) didn't act, isn't as good as you. Which in turn means, that this is out of the question for you, so why bother talk about it, these victims are losers anyway. Well, no. 

These victims, who are mostly women, are not weak at all. In fact, if you see survivors of any form of violence who come out and speak up, well "weak" is the last word you would ever use to characterize them. I personally think that victims of violence are people who didn't have any luck at some point and came to meet someone who had a problem. And whether they stayed by their offenders' side or not, is a completely other question, that has nothing to do with the fact that the offender is the problem. Because once you shift the focus from the offender to the victim, what also shifts is who you blame. So from blaming the abuser, you start blaming the victim, and finding excuses for the abuser. It may seem an out of reach situation that I'm describing now, but actually it isn't! I'll let you see read and watch articles and videos about this topic to understand how frequent these bad deeds are, and how often people pretend they're not that bad, how often people pretend they didn't even happen. Just always remember that it is NEVER the victim's fault, whatever he/she might have said/done, it is ALWAYS the person hurting the other repeatedly whose to blame! NOBODY deserves to be hurt on a daily basis, and if you have anyone around you in such a situation ACT! Talk about it, do something about it, don't let this person down! Don't blame him/her! Make him/her feel safe with you! And if you are yourself, in such a situation, don't let anyone put these lies in your mind, you are strong and you deserve to be happy. If you don't hurt anyone, then why should anyone hurt you? Even people that you love, or who love you, THEY MOST OF ALL should be the ones who care for you, who keep you safe. That is what love is about, isn't it? 

Here are the two links to my other articles I mentioned before, which might help you get more targeted information, such as links to organization who can help, links to inspiring TedTalk videos, or some links to websites or articles which can enlighten you either on Silence:
Or Domestic Violence:

Here are some explanations and solutions in order to avoid victim blaming:

Here is a video made by the Welsh government, with a website called stopblame.org, which aims at showing how easily a victim is blamed: 


And a video where a professor explains the reasons for blaming the victim:


And finally, here is a link to many organization that can help you, be it physically, or psychologically on the official site of everydayvictimblaming.com (also very helpful):

Have a great day, and stay strong!

P.S: There are also many references about domestic violence and victim blaming in Nicolas Cage's last movie called "Joe", a great movie by the way, if you're interested, here's the movie trailer:


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