Avoid Victim Blaming
Why People Blame Victims
When bad things happen to people, others often look for a reason it happened to that particular person. By thinking, “that wouldn’t have happened to me, because I would have…” makes people feel safer in their own lives and continue to think something just as bad won’t happen to them.
Blaming Silences Victims
People don’t always realize they are doing it, but blaming a victim can be very harmful, not just on the victim, but on society as a whole. Blaming silences victims. When victims are blamed, they are less likely to seek help in recovering from a traumatic experience, and they are less likely to report the experience to authorities. Abuse, assault and other forms of violence are always the perpetrators fault. A victim does not bring it on themselves.
Reporting to police is one of the essential tools we have to prevent future crime. By silencing victims, the cycle of crime continues.
What Does Victim-Blaming Sound Like?
“She should have known better.”
“What did he expect?”
“Did you see what she was wearing?”
“She shouldn’t have gotten so wasted.”
“They both have a lot of problems.”
“But he provoked her.”
“Why didn’t she just leave?”
“She was asking for it.”
How You Can Help End the Silence
- Make sure victims can be heard.
- Let survivors know what happened to them is not their fault.
- Confront victim-blaming when you hear it.
- Do not let perpetrators blame their victim, alcohol or drugs for their behavior.
- Understand how your own implicit bias about gender or what you think the “perfect victim” looks like affect the way you interpret a story about sexual assault or rape.