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Victim blaming

Posted by Sophie Newnes on

So, what exactly is victim blaming? Are you doing it without realising, and what are the effects of victim blaming on a survivor?

Victim blaming is when a survivor of a crime or a wrongful act is held completely or partly responsible for the harm that occurred.

Many survivors report feelings of guilt after an attack, which is hardly surprising after being faced with questions like: “What were you doing there?”, “Were you alone?”, “What were you wearing?” and: “How much did you have to drink?” These questions are not helpful at all and have been proven to have negative psychological effects on a survivor, leading him/her to question his or herself, with thoughts such as: “Should I have done more?”, “Why didn’t I fight back?”, “Is this my own fault?”

It’s important for the survivor to know that it is absolutely not their fault and that they are not responsible for the actions of the perpetrator.

If you are asking a survivor these sorts of questions, you are victim blaming and potentially causing psychological harm to a person who is already struggling to recover from abuse. If you want to help a survivor, you should ask him or her what he or she wants to do, and how you can support them with their decision.

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