Victim Blaming and Sexual Assault
Survivors of sexual assault often report feelings of self-blame and stigma. One of the most effective ways to counter this feeling is to seek support from those who understand the dangers associated with victim blaming. Fortunately, there are therapists who have experience with these specific issues.
Victim blaming is a social psychological phenomenon where people are inclined to make excuses for the person who caused them harm. It can be an unavoidable response to a tragedy. For example, if someone is out late at night and gets into a car accident, they might rationalize the event by saying that they were drunk and too careless. Another scenario may involve a character sharing a nude image online, or being tricked by a predator. In this case, the blame might go to the perpetrator, who may have been pressed for information.
Several studies have been conducted to examine the relationship between moral values and victim blaming. Researchers Laura Niemi and Liane Young have conducted four studies on this topic, and have identified two primary sets of moral values. The first set of values emphasizes fairness and protecting the group interest. The second set of values emphasizes individualizing. The results of these studies indicate that these values play a significant role in the process of victim blaming.
Victim blaming is often accompanied by other responses such as increased anxiety and post-traumatic stress. This is because victim blaming shifts the focus away from holding the perpetrator accountable and towards the victims’ vulnerability. It can also create a barrier to seeking help, and discourages victims from speaking out.
In a study, Laura Niemi and Liane Young found that a large portion of the population is subject to victim blaming. This is especially true for White Americans, Japanese, and South Africans. It is also true that higher-educated individuals tend to be more liberal and less likely to victim blame. However, despite these findings, there is no consensus on whether or not victim blaming is prevalent in all cultures. Some believe that victim blaming has contributed to rape culture.
Some research suggests that reading about crimes in the media can increase the tendency to victim blaming. This is because reading about the crime may trigger cognitive dissonance, which is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people are unsure of the circumstances surrounding a crime.
There are many reasons why people might not understand how to avoid blaming others for the crime they have been a victim of. One reason is that it can be difficult to retrain one’s fear reaction. Survivors who have experienced trauma need to accept the facts of the situation without question, and are sometimes advised to seek therapy to help them cope with the emotional aftermath of the crime.
Other reasons that people might feel obligated to blame others include feelings of guilt or shame. For example, a woman who was assaulted by a man might be tempted to blame her own mother. Survivors who experience violence or abuse often report a feeling of guilt for failing to intervene. Similarly, a person who has been assaulted by a sexual predator may feel guilt for not having taken the appropriate precautions.