Victim Blaming

Victim blaming is common in power based cultures. Because in such a culture, "might makes right," when the primary aggressor is more powerful, the victims are held to be at fault for their own mistreatment. This attitude helps onlookers stay complacent and feel reassured that not much in the world needs to change really.

There is usually some rationalization for blaming the victim, most commonly, that the victim could have escaped the situation or avoided it in the first place. This is a grave confusion between moral obligation and practical opportunity. Everyone has a right to pursue his or own desires and self-interest without abuse from others. It is true that sometimes a person may choose to avoid a situation where danger is above average, but a life composed entirely of this approach is so limiting, it is dehumanizing.

In the arena of domestic violence, victim blaming is applied with a vengeance against survivors who stay with a primary aggressor beyond the first obviously violent or controlling episode. This disregards the right of anyone to be in a relationship of his or her choosing without abuse. Staying where there has been abuse does not constitute consent or permission for the abuse. Victims may or may not be benefited by concrete assistance, but validation of their experiences are essential for sanity and growth. The tendency to blame survivors has some additional elements: