I think more often than not we place blame on the victim. We force the victim to prove their innocence and story.
‘Victim,’ in itself is such a scary and helpless word. By definition, it is “one that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent.” It’s more than a word; it’s an inherited name given to those who are put in circumstances beyond their control.
President Donald Trump recently spoke on the tragic Charlottesville attack, publically declaring that both ‘groups’ were to blame for such an unexpected tragedy. During a statement to reporters at Trump Tower, the president said:
I think there is blame on both sides. You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.
Instead of simply mourning the attack and acknowledging the harm that it caused many innocent victims- Trump instantly placed blame and accusation on both sides.
The Bill Cosby trials are yet another example of the ‘victim blame game.’ Many women accused Cosby of sexual misconduct and abuse spanning back to over 50 years ago. Instead of simply listening to and understanding the victims stories, the defense and the general public were quick to question the credibility of the victims. Questions like, ‘Why did you wait’? ‘Why didn’t you tell anyone’? surrounded the women who came forth after several years of silence, fear, and even bribery.
Victims of such crimes choose to wait precisely because of questions like those. CNN host and reporter, Don Lemon asked one alleged victim why she didn’t ‘bite back’ during a moment in her accused attack. Her response was perfect. She essentially responded ‘I didn’t want to get killed.’
There are indeed three sides to a story: Person A, Person B, and the Truth. The truth is the central goal or desired side, but we can never know the truth if we are not willing to listen.
Pointing fingers is easy. Unearthing the truth and looking beneath the surface is the hard part.