Why Victim Blaming is Wrong
Victim Blaming: The act that occurs when the victim of an event is held responsible be it partially or wholly, for the attack committed against them. The blame can appear in the form of negative social responses from health professionals, the media, family members, and more.
So, why do we do it? There are several reasons that individuals might be the victim of victim blaming. They can be susceptible to being wrongly portrayed as passive individuals, submitting to the violence that they endure. There is a “Just World Hypothesis”, which is a reason that offenders might use to justify their actions. This hypothesis essentially states that people get what they deserve. Unfortunately, in the scenarios of bullying, assault, and other forms of abuse, this hypothesis is completely wrong.
Let’s take the example of a sexual assault. We often hear that the cause of rape was the way the victim dressed, their lifestyle, or being out too late at night. What about the offender? We simply cannot pass up that the offender did no wrong; however, we are still seeing that offenders are “helpless, sexually-frustrated beings, responding to sexually provocative victims.” If a victim is naturally more sensitive or emotional, they might be seen as exaggerative. This is another serious misinterpretation that must be addressed.
Along with sexual assault, other forms of victim blaming could stem from depression, lifestyle choices, and eating disorders. Polish artist, Katarzyna Babis, portrays these situations in the images throughout this article.
It is important to shift the focus of our blame from the victim to the offender. This is to ensure that the offender is held accountable for their actions and is consequently able to learn from them. Encouraging a community response – in the form of police, school counselors, or parents – is a great way to resolve issues. Moreover, teaching your children about empathy is incredibly important. Being able to connect with those around you on a deeper level can build a stronger sense of community as well as maintain friendships. And who doesn’t like that?
You can find more of Katarzyna’s artwork on the matter of victim blaming here.
And last but not least, here is a very informative video on victim blaming from well-known sex education activist, Laci Green.