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What is Victim Blaming, Exactly?



To be a good advocate, you have to be an educated advocate. Take a few minutes today to brush up on the idea of “victim blaming”.

What is Victim Blaming?

When the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially responsible for the harm that befell them.

Why Do We Do It?

  • For a sense of control
  • As a way to protect ourselves from vulnerability
  • As a way to see the victim/survivor as different than ourselves
  • As a way to see the perpetrator as different than ourselves

This cartoon helps us understand the concept of victim blaming.

Understanding the Just World Theory can help you understand why we victim blame, too.

What Does Victim Blaming Look Like?

Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s not.

How Do We Combat This?

• Shift the focus from the behavior of the survivor to the behavior of the perpetrator.
• Explain the reasons why people victim blame.
• Recognize the personal reasons why you may be inclined to victim blame.
• Point out victim blaming when you hear it.
• Be critical of messages from the media when stories of sexual violence are covered.
• Start by believing the stories of survivors.
• Educate yourself on the reality of sexual violence.

If learning more about how to be an advocate for survivors is of interest to you, check out our “Knowledge for Change: Sexual Violence in Our Community” Conference on April 20th.