(Closed) Not wedding related – Blame the victim culture theory.

posted 5 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
7992 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

Consider this issue which has plagued philosophers for centuries: the power of the self vs the power of society/wider forces.

We like to think, in our individualistic society, that the individual is all powerful and can control the world around them. Therefore, if they are a victim then they caused it… it wasn’t random… it was something under their control. Also, when we defend the victim, we often use the trope of “society at fault”… for example, it was the fault of the mental health team that the schitzophrenic patient was released without medication and stabbed his victim with a kitchen knife.

This is a concept which has fascinated mankind for centuries… Mary Shelley was firmly of the opinion that man was born without sin and society corrupted him (Frankenstein). Golding took the opposite view… he said that man was basically evil and society was just holding back his baser instincts (Lord of the Flies). Where does evil come from… and how do we create/control/influence it?

So I think there are wider issues at stake here.


Post # 4
1902 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Having experienced and witnessed a lot of victim blaming, I think it’s very much people wanting to feel that “It couldn’t happen to me. I wouldn’t leave my door unlocked/wear a short skirt/walk down a dark alley.” You see a lot of it in the media, too, either blaming the victims for the crime they experience, or downplaying the seriousness of the crime (often in the case of sexual violence).

From what I’ve seen, a lot of people either blame the victim to protect their own sense of security, or in an attempt to give terrible advice to the victim (i.e. “Well if you didn’t hang around with people like that…”).

Post # 5
855 posts
Busy bee

There was an advert put up around London a few years ago around New Years. It showed a girl getting into an unlicenced taxi and it said something along the lines of “Look after yourselves. Book a cab from a reputable firm” and there was uproar about how it’s not a girls fault if she gets raped in the back of a taxi.

I thought the response was absolutely ridiculous. No one said it would be the girls fault – but that the girl should make sensible decisions to avoid putting herself in any kind of danger. It’s common sense to book a cab with a reputable firm, but some girls don’t do it – so they needed a reminder.

I do think you should avoid putting yourself in bad situations and try your best to look out for yourself. I would NEVER leave my house unlocked, walk around city streets drunk and alone.

I wouldn’t say that it’s their FAULT for getting attacked/burgled etc – but people do need to take responsibility for their own actions and realise that they can’t do whatever the hell they want to without consequences.

Post # 6
7992 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

@Miss Jackrabbit:  I remember that ad. Pretty hard hitting.

… when you refer to taking responsibility, are you thinking of the Jeremy Kyle culture whereby nothing is ever the person’s fault because “Jeremy, after my parents divorced, I hardly ever saw my Dad, and that’s why I became a burglar and a heroin addict.”?

I see that a lot. And it really annoys me.

Post # 7
855 posts
Busy bee

@Rachel631:  yes, THAT is really annoying. of course situations can influcence a person’s life, but everyone has a choice. and if they choose to ‘get in with the wrong crowd’ then that’s their own issue.

Post # 8
9647 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2019

I hate victim blaming!

Post # 9
9917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Miss Jackrabbit:  “I would NEVER leave my house unlocked, walk around city streets drunk and alone.”

Okay.  But that doesn’t stop someone from raping you.  Rape does not happen because someone did or did not get drunk.  It happens because someone CHOSE to rape a person.  A house doesn’t get robbed because someone did or did not lock their door; it happens because someone CHOSE to rob the house.


Post # 10
633 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I’ve left the door to my house WIDE OPEN all day by mistake once before…crazy morning in a rush….yeah, it was stupid, but nobody came in and robbed me. If they had, it would have been THEIR fault for entering a home that wasn’t theirs. Just b/c I made it easy for someone, doesn’t mean I was asking for it. In this case, had I been robbed, there’s a huge difference b/t taking responsibility and taking the blame.

My car was stolen from my job. I got asked a hundered times if it was locked and I wanted to scream, “How is that relevant?!?” 

When I was younger, I had a ‘it can’t happen to me’ attitude and looking back, I put myself in some precarious postions with people I didn’t know well or walking around alone at all hours of the night…and nothing did happen to me. Obviously, those strangers around me took responsibility for their own actions and didn’t take advantage.

Post # 11
855 posts
Busy bee

@peachacid:  No of course not! But you can make clever decisions to avoid putting yourself into any kind of situation that may not be as safe, then you should.

Again, it’s not their FAULT, but if you can do something to minimise the risk of putting yourself in danger, why wouldn’t you?

Post # 12
180 posts
Blushing bee

@Miss Jackrabbit:  +1

For the same reason you don’t leave your laptop unattended while you go to the restroom at Starbucks, or leave luggage unattended at the airport, or fasten your seatbelt.  It’s all about reducing your risk.  I’d like to believe that all of humankind is of good character, but that is not the case.  Common sense people… 



Post # 13
9687 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I agree it’s wrong to blame the victim, ever.  It is never a person’s fault if they become prey to another person’s evil will to cause them harm.

I also agree that people should take responsibility, as much as possible, to protect themselves from coming to harm. 

Still – even should a person fail in some way to protect themselves from harm – they do not ever deserve to become a victim.

The crime is always the fault of the criminal.

Think about it.  I’m sure all or * most * of us here are what we consider to be good people.  Each and every day we may come across a person or scenario that, if we had criminal tendencies, we would take advantage of. 

For instance – walking past a car with a handbag in the front seat.  Or, observing in a store someone who has left her wallet loose on top of her shopping cart and walked away from it for a few moments.  Or, finding a valuable ring lying on the edge of the sink at a restaurant that you just saw a woman take off to wash her hands and she walked out without it.  I would say in most instances most people who consider themselves to be good people would – not break the car window to steal the purse; not steal the wallet from the cart; and return the ring to the lady who owns it.

Criminals choose their actions.  We’re all vulnerable potential victims at some time or other.  Think about children, they are always vulnerable to adult choices.

Blaming the victim is wrong.

Post # 14
4337 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Miss Jackrabbit:  “I would NEVER leave my house unlocked, walk around city streets drunk and alone.”

I wouldn’t do those things either.  However, I think statements like yours (and mine) can be subtle victim-blaming by implying that crimes happen to victims because they took risks. I don’t think we meant to blame the victim, it’s just that shifting the cause of the crime to the risky behavior makes us feel safer because we wouldn’t do that behavior.
But many burglaries or house invasions happen despite locked doors. Most sexual assaults or rapes are by acquaintenances and many don’t involve alcohol.  Children are kidnapped by parents. We should avoid risky situations, for sure, but we can’t blame the crime on the risky behavior – it is solely the blame of the one committing the crime.

Post # 15
11752 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think it’s definitely a way to take back control and soothe ourselves from the anxiety we feel when something hits so close to home. It feels better to say that would never happen to me because I would never do x, y, z like she/he did, instead of saying OMG that could have been me!

Post # 16
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

@Miss Jackrabbit:  “Again, it’s not their FAULT, but if you can do something to minimise the risk of putting yourself in danger, why wouldn’t you?”

It is this kind of thinking that especially interferes with the agency of women to live productive, worthwhile lives — not that I think that is is your intent. 

For instance, in many, many cultures oppressive to women there are rules about when women should or should not be able to leave their houses (in order to “minimize risk”).  In some, women are not allowed to go in public without a man (otherwise they are “asking for it”).  In the US as late as the 60s and 70s it was though improper for a group of women to be out without a man (they were “asking for trouble”).  Now it is still often the case that if a woman is out alone by herself at night, she is considered to be “asking for trouble.” 

The irony of all of this is that most women are raped by men they know (the ones they rely on to “protect them”), not by strangers in the street.

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