Everything You Need To Know About Victim-Blaming In Cases Of Sexual Assault, According To Research

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It depends on your values as a human being.

A man raped a woman, who do you blame for this heinous crime? The man for having sex without consent, or the woman for her choice of clothes? Previous research discovered that depending on the values people uphold, it will influence who they blame when a crime occurs. If your values focus on reducing harm and caring for the general public, you are most likely to blame the perpetrators but if you value loyalty and obedience to authority, then you are more likely to blame the victims.

A sexual assault scandal is never complete until there is victim blaming.

According to Dr. Jason Whiting, relationship therapist, and professor at Texas Tech University, the need to blame the victim all comes down to three factors: certainty, fairness, and safety.

Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position.

People try to come up with an explanation for an unpleasant event and the explanation they come up with is based on their own experiences. The truth is that they would rather trust in the certainty of their answer rather than siding with the victim.

Fairness is the ability to rise above your prejudices.

The belief here is that if you do the right thing, then only good things will happen to you and if you break the rules, then you will get bad things in return. With this line of thinking, people will assume that a bad thing happened to you because you must have done something wrong.

Safety is a state of the mind.

Others will blame you rather than accept that someone they know and like did such an awful thing to you. Accepting that people they have considered as ‘normal’ are capable of such evil violates their sense of safety – it makes them wonder what kind of treatment they will get from other people who they consider normal.

In another study, the research showed that people tend to blame the victim to distance themselves from the unpleasant incident. By blaming the victim, you see yourself different from the victim and this reassures you that such unpleasant incident will never happen to you. Another reason is that victims tend to be blamed by people who value group loyalty – they see the victim as someone who has violated the social code.

This attitude of blaming women for their own harassment is actually one of the reasons why women choose not to come forward after they get harassed because they fear victim shaming. Also, this attitude reinforces the abuser’s belief, it is the fault of the victim that I acted in this way whether it be sexually assaulting a co-worker, raping a woman you went on a date with or beating up your partner because she ‘provoked’ you. By blaming the victim, society is permitting the abuser to go free of his crimes with any form of accountability. TC mark

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