Victim blaming is the practice of blaming the victim for harmful behaviour. It can be used as a way of making the abuser feel better, but it can also be detrimental to the victims’ well-being.
A person who suffers from a rape, sexual assault or similar incident may not be able to get help or talk to others because of victim blaming. This is because it increases feelings of shame and anxiety. Furthermore, it increases the chance of people being able to avoid the trauma by ignoring the fact that the perpetrator is at fault for causing the pain. Survivors of these kinds of attacks are often left wondering why they did not take extra precautions.
Although the term “victim blaming” is generally applied to a particular group of people, it can be applied to anyone who has been a victim of crime. Some of the ways to avoid being accused of victim blaming are to listen to the victim’s story, to give them the space they need and to be clear about what you are not blaming them for.
Another way of avoiding victim blaming is to recognize how our responses to crimes can be biased. For example, when asked about a rape or sexual assault, many people will ask questions that start with “why” and “how.” These questions are more likely to be interpreted by the victim as a way to blame them. During a sexual assault trial at Stanford University, the prosecutor praised the perpetrator’s athletics and academic achievements.
Despite the fact that most sexual abuse is caused by other people, it can still be very difficult for a victim to report the crime or seek assistance. They can be worried that they will be judged and that their attacker will go unpunished. Additionally, a victim can feel like they are not able to recover from the trauma. In order to overcome these issues, it is essential to find a therapist with specialized experience in treating these types of cases.
The Center for Victims of Crime (CVOC) is dedicated to increasing access to resources and safety for survivors of violent crime. Whether the victim was assaulted physically, emotionally or online, the organization aims to eliminate barriers to safety and support. If you or someone you know is a victim of violence, you can sign up for a five-day course to learn about the science behind sexual violence.
Getting a therapist is a very personal process. To find one, interview several professionals and choose a therapist with a history of treating the specific mental health issue you have. Your journey will be unique, but finding a therapist who is able to provide the support and guidance you need is essential.
The more you are able to understand the risks associated with victim blaming, the more likely you will be able to overcome the feelings of shame and fear. Eventually, you will be able to get the support you need.