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TwilightPrincess
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21 Feb 2024, 10:52 am

Feel free to share any thoughts and/or experiences you have on the topic of victim-blaming as long as it’s supportive (i.e. appropriate for The Haven). I’ve experienced it in different ways over the years. It’s probably why, offline, I’ve only told a couple people that I am a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault and haven’t even told my family. I might talk more about my experiences with victim-blaming in posts. I will say that it’s psychological abuse. It silences survivors and leads to many other problems besides that.

When it comes to the reasons for the behavior, I must admit that it’s kind of hard for me to believe that it would typically be related to ignorance in modern society. There’s too much awareness surrounding the harm that trauma can cause. I would think that the fact that “it’s never a victim’s fault” should be common knowledge by this point. Maybe my experiences and knowledge about the topic are giving me a false impression of others’ though.

Ignorance certainly does exist. For example, victim-blaming was a big issue in my former, religious community, and it contributed towards my feelings of self-blame and guilt for a long time. It’s difficult when you’ve been indoctrinated with certain beliefs from early childhood on up. A large reason why my initial trauma was so traumatic was tied up in religion, especially as it pertains to victim-blaming and purity culture. I felt like I didn’t even matter anymore. Purity culture has had (and continues to have) a negative impact on other survivors, such as Elizabeth Smart, as well.

In any case, I suppose there are different reasons for the behavior. Sometimes it can stem from ignorance, a lack of empathy, wanting to be hurtful, or some combination of factors.

Once again, victim-blaming IS abuse in and of itself.

Quote:
Victim blaming can be devastating to people who have been harmed by crime, disaster, assualt, or trauma. Blaming the victim:

- Contributes to stigma, shame, and self-blame
- Discourages people from seeking help
- Focuses on the victims' behaviors instead of the assailants' actions
- Makes it difficult for victims to get the help and support that they need
- Silences survivors
- Contributes to mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal thinking
- Contributes to rape culture

https://www.verywellmind.com/why-do-peo ... im-2795911

Victim-blaming can also make the person who engages in the behavior look like an as*hole. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel second-hand embarrassment for them when I experience or observe such abuse taking place.


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belijojo
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21 Feb 2024, 1:02 pm

wiki

I see this accusation as a defense for the social system, also everyone else.Its negative consequence is that the same crime will continue to occur or even increase.During turbulent times in history, it guaranteed social stability; but it is no longer needed in modern society.

Opposition to the blame the victim leads to reflection and change, which is often rejected by religion


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Last edited by belijojo on 21 Feb 2024, 2:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

TwilightPrincess
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21 Feb 2024, 1:49 pm

It explains why child abuse and domestic violence run rampant in my former religion. When there were accusations of child sexual abuse, the elders would typically believe the perpetrator who, given the specific gender dynamics of the group, was often a man and a buddy and not believe (or they’d even blame!) the victim who was most often female. “We can’t trust her. Do you see how erratically she’s behaving?! Besides, our buddy would never do that.” That sort of thing. It’s beyond disgusting. Then the crime would frequently go unreported, leading to more victims.

While I understand their behavior on an intellectual level, the more emotional part of me struggles to grasp how leaders can be so incredibly stupid. (It’s related to religious indoctrination, believing what is convenient, and being uneducated on this stuff. Still, I don’t get it from an emotional standpoint. I guess I’m one of those erratic FeMaLeS who can’t be trusted. :roll: ) A particularly disturbing example of such stupidity is at this link. It doesn’t even surprise me that much based on my experience with their beliefs, policies, and behavior. A quote from the article in the link which might be upsetting/triggering to some:

Quote:
The lawsuit filed by a woman against four elders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church in Roy over their handling of allegations a church member raped and abused her as a teen has been settled.

Details of the out-of-court settlement stemming from the charges of emotional distress outlined in the suit, however, have not been disclosed.

The abuse extended into early 2018 when the girl’s mother learned of it. As a “devout” Jehovah’s Witnesses church member, the suit reads, the mom sought the advice of elders of the congregation. Their subsequent handling of the matter is at the center of the lawsuit and the charges of emotional distress.

The events at the center of the circuitous case — which made its way to the Utah Supreme Court — occurred in late 2007 and early 2008. The victim, as an adult, initially filed suit in 2015 in 2nd District Court in Ogden. That case was dismissed later that year and she filed another suit in 2nd District Court in late 2016.

Among other things, the elders made the 14-year-old repeatedly listen to an audio recording the 18-year-old had surreptitiously made while he abused her, the suit reads. They also questioned her at length about the events and the recording.

According to the suit, the plaintiff met the alleged perpetrator of the abuse — active in the Jehovah’s Witnesses church, like her — in the summer of 2007, when he was 18 and she was 14. “So began a course of (the 18-year-old) abusing (the younger teen), bullying her, making sexual demands and, eventually, raping her,” reads the amended suit in the case, filed on April 14, 2022, according to court records.

The abuse extended into early 2018 when the girl’s mother learned of it. As a “devout” Jehovah’s Witnesses church member, the suit reads, the mom sought the advice of elders of the congregation. Their subsequent handling of the matter is at the center of the lawsuit and the charges of emotional distress.

“The Elders inflicted this psychological abuse in an effort to cause (the teen) emotional pain so that they could extract a confession from (her), at that time 14 years old, that the sexual abuse and rape (the) 18-year-old (perpetrator) inflicted on her was actually consensual. It was not,” reads the suit.

She had managed in the immediate aftermath of the abuse, but after her dealings with the elders, the suit reads, her life deteriorated. “She struggled to fall asleep and to get out of bed in the morning. She stopped attending school for days at a time. Her grades plummeted. She grew depressed and was no longer able to engage in activities normal for a young girl her age,” it reads.

Second District Court Judge Mark DeCaria dismissed the suit on Aug. 17, 2017. The encounter between the elders and the young girl occurred in a religious setting — a hearing to determine if she had committed “a serious sexual sin,”
he wrote — and he was hesitant to meddle given 1st Amendment religious protections.

Despite this Court’s revulsion at the allegations, it cannot hear this case without excessively entangling itself in religion, and thus declines to do so,” DeCaria wrote in his decision.

The case ultimately went to the Utah Supreme Court and the justices overturned the dismissal in 2021, keeping the lawsuit alive. The high court argued, in part, that DeCaria relied on a case-law test that had been discarded by the U.S. Supreme Court in reviving the lawsuit.


In any event, less extreme examples of victim-blaming happen all the time. It seems like most survivors have experienced it at one time or another. Given the effects of the behavior, I think it’s incredibly sad and disheartening that it’s so prevalent. Victims have enough on their plate without having to deal with this s**t. In some cases, it could even lead to suicide.


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24 Feb 2024, 5:37 am

"If you always end up getting bullied, maybe you should think why that is the case."

Does saying this to someone count as victim blaming? 'Cause I've been told that when telling about my experiences of getting bullied, and I recall the teachers back at school saying this kind of thing to one of the girls who got bullied and verbally sexually harassed a lot.

When someone says that, I don't think it automatically means that they're a bad person, it could be an attempt to help, as in trying to get the victim to find a thing they could change about themselves to prevent the bullying... or is trying to change the victim just more bullying in itself? I mean, of course it's really the bullies who should change, but realistically speaking, it's often easier to change oneself than someone else or a group of people even.



TwilightPrincess
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24 Feb 2024, 5:55 am

Yes, that’s victim-blaming. I suspect that people who victim-blame aren’t always bad people. It can be related to ignorance. There’s no excuse for verbal sexual harassment. Sometimes a lot of people harass one person because of mob mentality. I’ve seen it in action. It seems to be especially common among teenagers. It’s really important to address the behavior of the bullies because it can escalate and extend into adulthood. My son told me about something that happened in his school recently: an entire class was bullying one girl, so the entire class was punished, except for the girl. I had a long-term sub assignment in that teacher’s class as an aide a couple years ago. He’s an excellent teacher. For him to do something like that, it must’ve been warranted.

If kids are being bullied because they’re bullying or abusing other people, that behavior would need to be addressed, but in that case, I’m not sure I’d call the reaction to the behavior “bullying.” Bullying involves more one-sided behavior in my opinion.

Sometimes kids bully someone they perceive as annoying for whatever reason (they’re often just different, maybe autistic), but in life, there are going to be people that rub us the wrong way. We need to learn how to handle differences without being abusive.

I’ve had a couple people imply that I was to blame for some of the abuse I experienced as an adult from pervs and my ex who is also a perv. I was in no way responsible for their behavior. My ex was a monster who abused me in every possible way. The only people who are responsible for abusers’ behavior are abusers.


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colliegrace
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24 Feb 2024, 7:45 am

I remember when I was basically robbed of all my money and multiple valuable possessions, I filed a police report and everyone just kept telling me how I should have made better decisions and this wouldn't have happened if I wasn't so naive.

On one hand.... yeah, there was things that made me an easy target, sure. I had my PIN number written in my wallet. I had like $200 in cash instead of in the bank. But since when does "you should have known better" help after the fact? What I needed most was someone to understand how much that situation hurt.


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TwilightPrincess
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24 Feb 2024, 7:53 am

^ That’s awful! I’m sorry you experienced that.

It sucks to be the victim of a crime and then to experience stuff like that on top of it. The only person responsible was the robber.


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colliegrace
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24 Feb 2024, 8:18 am

Thanks. Like.... there are things you can do to make theft and crime and stuff harder to happen to you. But that doesn't mean it was my fault I got robbed. I was like, ehhhh..... 22? 23? No one can expect a highly sheltered young adult to magically know everything that can make you a target.


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Edna3362
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24 Feb 2024, 11:13 am

All the victim blaming thoughts went away from me as soon as I became further more preoccupied with this seemingly primal hate-fueled life long quest of untangling the nature of living as a human being.

In principle, I see all humans as victims of whatever predetermined crap.
On the flip side, I can see how humans can be much more than that.


On the other hand, I grew up very disappointed witnessing enough injustices, with enough discernment over unreasonable crap that people thought was 'common sense' when it's not.

So I tend to perceive any possible human shortcomings as something very difficult to overcome. Ignorance, helplessness, vices, flaws...
... And I never took a psych course my whole life.

On the other hand, I am very hard on myself.
Not because people are pointing fingers at me, but because, as a child, I used to believe that said shortcomings would just be easy to work around with...
... Until, even relatively at a young age, that something just holds me back. To this day it's still distracts me.

I'm aware there is a something that holds everyone back, I just accept less that I do; I still cling at the belief that I have more control over it than what I supposed to have now.

And I just do not have the names for those things; like the concept of luck and circumstances, the factors like mental health...

Even how evolution works -- I was curious with the emotion of fear, and wondered why I handled it differently from others, or how screwed it was...


I'm already done with all the understanding.
That I see the stupid game beyond winners and losers, only chains of victim and perpetrator in need of breaking out of their cycles.

One doesn't need all the crappy and unlucky circumstances to actually understand all this.

But someday, I'll be past "understanding".


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UncannyDanny
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22 Apr 2024, 6:33 am

Fireblossom wrote:
"If you always end up getting bullied, maybe you should think why that is the case."

Does saying this to someone count as victim blaming? 'Cause I've been told that when telling about my experiences of getting bullied, and I recall the teachers back at school saying this kind of thing to one of the girls who got bullied and verbally sexually harassed a lot.

When someone says that, I don't think it automatically means that they're a bad person, it could be an attempt to help, as in trying to get the victim to find a thing they could change about themselves to prevent the bullying... or is trying to change the victim just more bullying in itself? I mean, of course it's really the bullies who should change, but realistically speaking, it's often easier to change oneself than someone else or a group of people even.

So, not only is it a form of "victim blaming", but also a really toxic form of "peer pressure"?



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22 Apr 2024, 11:34 am

Does hating the poor and calling people "White Trash" or "Ghetto" count as victim blaming?


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22 Apr 2024, 11:42 am

RedDeathFlower13 wrote:
Does hating the poor and calling people "White Trash" or "Ghetto" count as victim blaming?

Absolutely.


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22 Apr 2024, 11:54 am

I haven't experienced much victim-blaming irl except from myself when I self-gaslight. The main thing I've experienced, which is a type of covert victim-blaming, is trauma shaming. That occurs when people suggest I should just "get over it" and not let it "bother" me, or they suggest I've held onto the pain for too long. There's even an attitude that people who have experienced trauma shouldn't think of themselves as "victims", even when they clearly are / have been. That doesn't mean they all have a perpetual "victim mentality", but if you've been the victim of a crime then by definition, you are / have been a victim and you should be able to discuss or advocate for victims' rights. Changing the vernacular won't change the facts.

I've done a hell of a good job not dwelling on the pain and trying to be proactive in my recovery but even if that wasn't the case, it's harmful and rude for people to espouse ableist attitudes by saying we should get over it.

I also dislike when people say I'm strong or a survivor and all that stuff. It's true I guess, just like it's true of all survivors of violence and exploitation. I know they mean well when they say it but somehow it implies there's a standard I have to achieve: I have to be strong to get their respect. Sometimes I don't want to be strong, and sometimes I'm not strong at all. Nor should I need to be, in order to "trauma" correctly.


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22 Apr 2024, 12:13 pm

For me, it comes down to being able to self-identify in whatever way is right for me without someone else trying to impose a label on me. Some, but not all, survivors prefer the word “survivor” over “victim,” but telling people how they should identify isn’t cool because there’s no descriptor that’s right for everyone. I use both “survivor” and “victim” depending on my mood.

I’ve really appreciated songs and stories from survivors about strength - about taking back their power and voices. It really helped me find inner strength when things in my life were precarious. I don’t like it when people tell me how I should be because that’s up to me.


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22 Apr 2024, 12:21 pm

Exactly. ^ No one should tell us how we should be, or how we should feel / cope on any given day.

Both words are applicable and can be interchangeable or true at the same time. It doesn't have to be one or the other. Sometimes I don't want to use either one for myself, because I just want to be "me" separate from it all. Other times it helps to identify with one or both, especially when looking for support and resources.

You've done a great job bringing awareness to these topics on WP.

Thank you for that.


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TwilightPrincess
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22 Apr 2024, 12:50 pm

Thanks!

I don’t always think of myself in those terms either, and I only use them in my head or on here since I’m not comfortable with talking about my trauma offline at this point. When I’m having a rough PTSD day/time, I’m more likely to use the word “victim” than “survivor,” but that’s me. My mood determines the label; the label doesn’t determine my mood. A certain jerk who we both used to know seemed to think that if we used the word “survivor” it would magically make things better. :lol:

I have no problems with those who only use the word “survivor.” That’s perfectly valid, but once again, that choice should be up to them, not someone who maybe spent 30 seconds reading pop psychology online (the 30 seconds includes scrolling through ads). That someone never experienced trauma either. It’s at least as irritating as when people who aren’t parents or pediatricians/child psychologists give parenting advice.


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