Why do people tend to blame the “victim”?

Today, there is a significant increase in the number of news about physical violence and sexual abuse against women. With the spread of social media and the ‘MeToo’ movement that started in America, especially women began to share the violence and abuse they were subjected to. These posts aroused serious repercussions, especially on social media. However, victims were not always treated with empathy and understanding. We have long been aware of the phenomenon of victim blaming in connection with violence and abuse.

I’m sure many of us are seriously uncomfortable with it. Not only in our country, but also in other countries, this accusation is generally based on the role of the victim in the violence; They are asked and talked about “which behaviors caused this situation, what they wore, what they did to “encourage” the perpetrator, and why they did not fight any more. This makes me very angry, especially as a woman. As they begin to think and research the subject, might they be trying to create the belief that they and their loved ones are safe by being more careful when blaming the victim, implying that they are directly causing their misfortune, as well as implying that part of this tragedy is their fault? I started to think.

It was David B. Feldman’s article that evolved my thinking here. My purpose in writing this is, of course, not to justify the accusation tendency. It’s a search for meaning. If we underestimate the experiences of the victim, we will minimize the criminal act and reduce the possibility of the victims to come forward and seek their rights. That’s why I think it’s important to understand the psychological roots of blaming the victim. I hope we can help prevent violence and abuse in this way.

While some of the blame phenomenon is undoubtedly due to ignorance, a sense of smug superiority, there may be other important reasons as well. According to psychologists, the tendency to blame the victim may paradoxically stem from a deep need to believe that the world is a good and just place. On a daily basis, we are besieged by news of some pretty horrific events. Almost every day, there is a flow of information about theft, accidents, personal crimes, diseases and war in the news. If we were purely rational beings, we would now live in terror. After all, these things can happen to us. However, because it can be very painful to think about it, we can say that we choose to cope with tragic events by holding on to the belief that it will not happen to us because we are good people.

Despite the delusional nature of these beliefs, we should be happy to have them. Imagine how horrible life would look if we truly thought the world was dangerous, unfair, and that we are not good people. Our positive beliefs help us function and live happily in a world that can often be downright scary. We enter into questioning and accusation as to whether he has done anything to invite this tragedy to psychologically separate ourselves from the victim. If it’s wrong, we can say to ourselves “it won’t happen to me” and we can protect ourselves by surrendering to the belief that the world is a fair place. Our tendency to blame the victim ultimately protects ourselves. Pink allows us to maintain our worldview and reassure ourselves that nothing bad will happen. The problem is, we’re sacrificing someone else for our own good.

According to research by David Aderman, Sharon Brehm, and Lawrence Katz, cited by David B. Feldman in his article, we can avoid blaming the victim with empathy. I think I was able to fully establish real empathy only with Pınar Gültekin’s murder. Although I have never approached the victim from an accusatory position, I was able to establish true empathy somehow through Pınar, which I saw close to myself, and the belief that this could happen to me was strengthened by her and I was horrified.

I had seen some users on Twitter who were especially angry that everyone reacted to this murder and why they were not so united in the face of someone else’s tragedy. Among the examples they gave was the similar tragedy experienced by a woman living in the village. Now that I think about it, they are so right… Sorry for not being able to fully empathize before. I’m sorry that I put self-preservation first and didn’t have enough ownership of the tragedy of the victim.

Our need to feel that we live in a safe and just world can lead us to draw conclusions that we are not proud of. None of us want to re-traumatize innocent victims. And none of us want the perpetrators to go unpunished. Next time we ask ourselves about the tragedy of a victim: How would I feel if I were that person? We can truly ensure a just world by empathizing rather than just somehow covering up the blame. I think we as human beings have an obligation to at least do that.

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