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According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word “victimology” refers to the study of the victims of crime and the psychological effects on them of their experience. Those who have been former victims, who are now survivors, are familiar with how victims are treated in public and the media. And how the abusers are, sadly, afforded more rights as criminals. It’s sickening!
You know, reading about people who have been victims of domestic violence, I’ve found two things to be true: victims of a crime cannot be named in the media, if they survived the attack; however, they CAN be named if they are dead. How screwed up is that??? I’m glad that victims are not named, specifically for their safety and well-being. However, we know far too many names these days. Far, far too many. It makes me super sad and angry, all at once.
What makes me truly makes me angry is those that survive and are “protected,” end up being “victim shamed.” Victim shaming, also sometimes called victim blaming, according to DomesticShelters.org, is “when victims face ridicule and judgment for stepping forward and speaking out about abuse.” While the public can be very guilty of this, only knowing a facet of the situation, some of the worst victim shaming can come from a victim’s friends and/or family. And especially from the abuser’s friends and family, who immediately want to call the victim a “liar” and/or and “attention whore.” Smoke and mirrors is their game!
The worst victim shaming, from my prospective, would be the ignorant questions: What did you do to deserve that? What were you wearing? Why on Earth did you go back? Was keeping that man more important than your own children? Why are you so fixated on what he did — what was your part in all of it?
Folks, let’s do our part NOT to play the “blame game!” Believe the person, or at least give them the benefit of the doubt. How about instead we say/ask:
- I’m so sorry you went through all of that.
- Are you okay?
- I’m here to listen without judgement.
- You are courageous!
- I believe in you. How can I help?
I guess the reason I am stating this is because of all of the ignorant questions that I’ve heard lately, in speaking with other survivors and DV advocates. An example of this could be the Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard case. First, it was “poor Amber,” because the abuser in a large majority of cases is male and Depp has past substance issues. Once Amber was caught lying on several instances, the tide turned back to Depp and people stated that they understood why he had substance issues. As a former victim, I simply reserved judgement and just listened. I wanted to hear both sides, without drawing ANY conclusions. Unfortunately, the jury of public opinion prevailed.
Domestic violence would also be less of a stigma, if people were more informed about victim blaming, the cycle of abuse, and the trauma blond. I have to say law enforcement, attorneys, and judges should be more informed too — they should be over-saturated with information, since they are the ones that serve and protect. If we could add into the mix about the dynamics of abuse, in relation to LGBTQ+ relationships, so they aren’t shamed by not conforming to old-fashioned traditions. Even when females are the aggressors over males, who get shamed for not being “manly” enough. Lose the sex dynamics stigma — AND I MEAN THAT INCLUDES EVERYONE!!! That is just another ignorant way of victim shaming. All of these tactics really, truly disgust me more than I can communicate…because when victims die, because of ignorance, more people need to become more resolute and reflective on how they handled that situation — sadly, they just call it a freak thing and carry on with their antiquated ways…SMH!
So, victimology is a real topic. How about we work to bring it properly into the twenty-first century? Because what is accepted, is clearly not working. That would be SO grand!
Love and light! <3