"It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice. "
“Attitude Is Everything
We live in a culture that is blind to betrayal and intolerant of emotional pain. In New Age crowds here on the West Coast, where your attitude is considered the sole determinant of the impact an event has on you, it gets even worse.In these New Thought circles, no matter what happens to you, it is assumed that you have created your own reality. Not only have you chosen the event, no matter how horrible, for your personal growth. You also chose how you interpret what happened—as if there are no interpersonal facts, only interpretations.
The upshot of this perspective is that your suffering would vanish if only you adopted a more evolved perspective and stopped feeling aggrieved. I was often kindly reminded (and believed it myself), “there are no victims.” How can you be a victim when you are responsible for your circumstances?
When you most need validation and support to get through the worst pain of your life, to be confronted with the well-meaning, but quasi-religious fervor of these insidious half-truths can be deeply demoralizing. This kind of advice feeds guilt and shame, inhibits grieving, encourages grandiosity and can drive you to be alone to shield your vulnerability.”
― Sandra Lee Dennis
“One of the reasons a survivor finds it so difficult to see herself as a victim is that she has been blamed repeatedly for the abuse: "If you weren't such a whore, this wouldn't have to happen." Each time she is used and trashed, she becomes further convinced of her innate badness. She sees herself participating in forbidden sexual activity and may often get some sense of gratification from it even if she doesn't want to (it is, after all, a form of touch, and our bodies respond without the consent of our wills). This is seen as further proof that the abuse is her fault and well deserved. In her mind, she has become responsible for the actions of her abusers. She believes she is not a victim; she is a loathsome, despicable, worthless human being—if indeed she even qualifies as human. When the abuse has been sadistic in nature...these beliefs are futher entrenched.”
― Diane Langberg, Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse
“People may not realize the damage that they are doing by placing the blame on the victim ~ but that doesn't lessen the damage that they cause by doing it.”
― Darlene Ouimet
My heart is and was my whole life with the victims and survivors of crimes, murder, sexual assault, childhood abuse, rape, sexual harassment, stalking, cyber mobbing, internet defamation and never with the culprits. Every victim and survivor of these crimes, together with their families deserves respect and help. The blaming of victims of violence, whether female or male, infants, children, adolescents, adults is common in all societies worldwide. If we now think that accusing victims of violence is a male domain, I have to correct that from my experiences and many other women and girls I know. This is a female domain, as shown in social media and networks, in society, at work and in school and university. I have been massively attacked twice by women, once in a forum for stalking victims and once in a petition against accusing victims of sexual offenses. Both times, the assailants pretended to be victims, in fact, I'm damn sure, they're acquaintances of my last stalker and harasser and cybermobber. I have always emphasized when I described my own experiences of sexual violence, that I almost only got help from men and boys, male teachers, classmates, colleagues, superiors, friends and my husband. So in the two cases mentioned above, but these ladies deliberately overruled and ignored that facts and made a real witch hunt on me, although I have also pointed out here that men and boys are also victims of sexual violence and stalking. They called me a liar and men hater. Unfortunately, female (and male) victims of violence, abuse, harassment, rape and hate crimes are often betrayed by other women and girls and charged with being guilty, lying, or crazy. As examples, I mention some female friends who were raped and abused by male relatives, also grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, and then beaten by their own mothers and described as liars. These women make lifelong therapies and have severe depression and traumas. Another example is a female boss who accused rape and harassment victims at the workplace of being a disgrace to the firm, they were sluts and liars and had no right to blame family fathers. Of course, these girls all quit. And myself too after sexual harassment and a rape attempt and because that female boss had still bullied me in a heinous kind. Because I had complaining verbally and in writing about the incidents.When I was a child, I witnessed that two Catholic priests were molesting and beating boys and girls. I was the only child that had the courage to report this. However, I was then placed as a liar, both priests disappeared from the community, but came not to court and were not punished. Above all, I had entrusted myself to women in the family and the neighborhood and they said that I should not tell such lies about good priests. The followers of the priests were especially friendly to me and called me a courageous and devout girl, but they did not want to talk about the whole thing either I can only give the advise to every survivor of violence, crime, stalking, bullying, cyberbullying and other crimes, not giving up, not even taking his own life. These victim blaming people are worthless and not a thought worth. Do not give up, there are people who believe in you, helping you and love you. Forget the others who open up witch-hunts, because they do not know what humanity and compassion mean. Together, we can work for a better world for our children, if not now, when then?
Rape Culture, Victim Blaming, and The Facts:
What is Rape Culture?
Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.
Examples of Rape Culture
Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
Sexually explicit jokes
Tolerance of sexual harassment
Inflating false rape report statistics
Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
Pressure on men to “score”
Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
Teaching women to avoid getting raped
One reason people blame a victim is to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. By labeling or accusing the victim, others can see the victim as different from themselves. People reassure themselves by thinking, "Because I am not like her, because I do not do that, this would never happen to me." We need to help people understand that this is not a helpful reaction.
Why Is It Dangerous?
Victim-blaming attitudes marginalize the victim/survivor and make it harder to come forward and report the abuse. If the survivor knows that you or society blames her for the abuse, s/he will not feel safe or comfortable coming forward and talking to you.
Victim-blaming attitudes also reinforce what the abuser has been saying all along; that it is the victim’s fault this is happening. It is NOT the victim’s fault or responsibility to fix the situation; it is the abuser’s choice. By engaging in victim-blaming attitudes, society allows the abuser to perpetrate relationship abuse or sexual assault while avoiding accountability for his/her actions.
What Does Victim-Blaming Look Like?
Example of Victim-Blaming Attitude: “She must have provoked him into being abusive. They both need to change.”
Reality: This statement assumes that the victim is equally to blame for the abuse, when in reality, abuse is a conscious choice made by the abuser. Abusers have a choice in how they react to their partner’s actions. Options besides abuse include: walking away, talking in the moment, respectfully explaining why an action is frustrating, breaking up, etc. Additionally, abuse is not about individual actions that incite the abuser to hurt his partner, but rather about the abuser’s feelings of entitlement to do whatever he wants to his partner.
When friends and family remain neutral about the abuse and say that both people need to change, they are colluding with and supporting the abusive partner and making it less likely that the survivor will seek support.
How can men and women combat Rape Culture and Victim blaming?
Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women
Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape
If a friend says they have been raped, take your friend seriously and be supportive
Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence
Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations
Let survivors know that it is not their fault
Hold abusers accountable for their actions: do not let them make excuses like blaming the victim, alcohol, or drugs for their behavior
Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent
Define your own manhood or womanhood. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.
Be an Active Bystander!
Adapted from Marshall University and Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness
Dating and Domestic Violence Facts
FACT: Regardless of their actions, no one deserves to be physically, verbally or sexually abused. In fact, putting the blame for the violence on the victim is a way to manipulate the victim and other people. Batterers will tell the victim, "You made me mad," or, "You made me jealous," or will try to shift the burden by saying, "Everyone acts like that." Most victims try to placate and please their abusive partners in order to de-escalate the violence. The batterer chooses to abuse, and bears full responsibility for the violence.
FACT: Many victims love their partners despite the abuse, blame themselves, or feel as if they have no support system or resources outside of the relationship and so they feel as if they can’t leave. Furthermore, the period immediately after leaving an abusive relationship is extremely dangerous.
FACT: Jealousy and possessiveness are signs that the person sees you as a possession. They are one of the most common early warning sign of abuse
FACT: Abuse can come in many forms, such as sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional. When a person in a relationship repeatedly scares, hurts, or puts down the other person, it is abuse. Harassment, intimidation, forced or coerced isolation from friends and family and having an independent social life, humiliation, threats of harm to you or your family or pets, threats of suicide if you leave, violating your privacy, limiting your independence and personal choices are all examples of abuse.
FACT: While the majority of victims of domestic violence are women, men may also be victims of relationship violence. Men face many of the same barriers as women that prevent them from reporting abuse, but also face a different kind of stigma since many do not believe that men can be victims of dating/domestic violence.
FACT: The majority of men and young men in our community are not violent. The use of violence is a choice. Men who use violence in their relationships choose where and when they are violent. The large majority of offenders who assault their partners control their violence with others, such as friends or work colleagues, where there is no perceived right to dominate and control.
Stating that 'All men are violent' places the blame for the violence elsewhere and prevents the perpetrator from being responsible for his violence. The majority of men and women want and can be allies to help in the fight against this kind of violence.
FACT: As many as one-third of all high school and college-age young people experience violence in an intimate or dating relationship. Physical abuse is as common among high school and college-age couples as married couples.
Sexual Assault Facts
FACT: Men, women and children of all ages, races, religions, and economic classes can be and have been victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs in rural areas, small towns and larger cities. It is estimated that one in three girls and one six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a rape or attempted rape occurs every 5 minutes in the United States.
FACT: Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks” for or deserves this type of attack.
FACT: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Studies show that approximately 80%-90% of women reporting sexual assaults knew their assailant.
FACT: A sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices.
FACT: Reported sexual assaults are true, with very few exceptions. According to CONNSACS, only 2% of reported rapes are false. This is the same rate of false reporting as other major crime reports.
FACT: Men can be, and are, sexually assaulted. Current statistics indicate that one in six men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Sexual assault of men is thought to be greatly under-reported.
FACT: Almost all sexual assaults occur between members of the same race. Interracial rape is not common, but it does occur.
FACT: Sexual assault is motivated by hostility, power and control. Sexual assaults are not motivated by sexual desire. Unlike animals, humans are capable of controlling how they choose to act on or express sexual urges.
FACT: Sexual offenders come from all educational, occupational, racial and cultural backgrounds. They are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who sexually assault victims to assert power and control over them and inflict violence, humiliation and degradation.
FACT: Anytime someone is forced to have sex against their will, they have been sexually assaulted, regardless of whether or not they fought back or said "no". There are many reasons why a victim might not physically fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats or the size and strength of the attacker.
FACT: Survivors exhibit a spectrum of emotional responses to assault: calm, hysteria, laughter, anger, apathy, shock. Each survivor copes with the trauma of the assault in a different way.