How to Reduce the Impact of Victim Blaming on a Character

victim blaming

Victim blaming is a common response to traumatic events, and can be especially harmful for victims of sexual violence and abuse. It can lead to invalidation of the victim’s experience, excuse a perpetrator’s inappropriate behavior, and leave the victim feeling alone and unsupported.

Often, victim blaming is an unconscious reaction, but sometimes it’s conscious. For example, a victim of rape might blame themselves for being in the area of town where the crime took place or for wearing provocative clothing.

It’s possible to reduce the impact of victim blaming on a character by challenging it in an effective and supportive way. You can do this by making sure you understand why a character might be blaming themselves for a situation, or explaining how they could have avoided the crime in the first place.

The main reason people blame victims is because they believe in a just world where everyone gets what they deserve. This belief is so important that it can be difficult to abandon, even when the world seems less just or fair than people thought it would be.

This is why it’s crucial to understand where and when you might be tempted to engage in victim blaming. By understanding why you’re doing this, it can help you to feel more comfortable responding to it or avoiding it yourself.

Some people are more likely to engage in victim blaming than others, and this may be due to their personality and beliefs. Individuals who are more liberal tend to be less prone to this, for instance.

It’s also possible to decrease a character’s risk of victim blaming by creating a sense of empathy for them. You can do this by discussing how they might have been in a dangerous situation and why they might have done what they did, and by increasing their awareness of the dangers they face by showing them examples of other victims who have suffered similar experiences.

You can also use character blaming in a positive way by using it to challenge the negative messages portrayed about sexual assault and abuse. For instance, you can tell a character that sharing nude images online can be risky and that the person who has done this is not responsible for that, but it could be because they were under pressure or threatened by the victim.

Educating children and young people on the importance of not blaming the victim can be beneficial, but it’s vital that this is taught in an accessible and safe way. For instance, you can make sure your students know that a character who is blaming their victim for a sexual offence is doing so because they’re scared that if they don’t do this, then they might not get the support they need.

Increase empathy for characters experiencing abuse by showing them the real world examples of other people who have suffered abuse and explain that if they had not, then they would not be in that position. You can show this by sharing videos and stories of other victims, or you can share a picture of someone you know who has been subjected to abuse and explain that their story is just as valid as yours.