# Why is it taboo to discuss the responsibility of victims?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by wynn, Nov 22, 2011.

1. ### KilljoyKlownWhateverValued Senior Member

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Bells, maybe I missed it, but none of the examples of Wynn's posts that you presented said anything at all about a 4 year old rape victim. Are you reading in something out of context. I can't believe any adult would blame a 4 year old that got raped, and I haven't seen anything that Wynn wrote that does blame a 4 year old.

When any criminal is looking to commit his particular crime. He will sort through all his choices and pick the best choice he feels he can get away with. You as a potential victim should do your best not to be that criminals best choice, whatever that takes. If you are an adult with a 4 year old, you are responsible to see that your 4 year old does not become some criminals best choice. The criminal is always at fault, but that doesn't mean the victim couldn't have done a lot more to prevent being a victim in the first place.

3. ### GeoffPCaput gerat lupinumValued Senior Member

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?? No. How does the culpability of the victim ensue from this example? Of culprit and victim, which are the dog and which me?

5. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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Have you never experienced that there is a difference in how you feel after a wrongdoing has been committed against you, the difference depending on the state of your mind at the time before and at the wrongdoing?

7. ### GeoffPCaput gerat lupinumValued Senior Member

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Why would that matter in assigning blame for any given incident? You're not proposing "aggravated thoughtcrime", are you?

Constable Twerp
Got one here, Sarge. Assaulted a lady.

Sargeant Deske
Vicious indeed! And who's that you've got behind him.

Constable Twerp

Sargeant Deske
Is it now? And what's she up for?

Constable Twerp
We're bringin' in the first one for aggravated thoughtcrime, Sarge. So she's up for...

Sargeant Deske
Say no more: thoughtcrime it is. Shameful. What is it with these dames, thinking they can think whatever they like about honest, down-to-earth rapists? I'll be buggered he's never had a vicious thought in his head...aside from during the rapin', I expect.

Constable Twerp
...write him up as an accessory, Sarge?

Sargeant Deske
Write him up, my son. Any more of those Bush sandwiches handy?

Constable Twerp
...almost gave me a thoughtcrime there meself, Sarge.

Sargeant Deske
Careful now, lad. The bit's almost endin'.

Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
8. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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Obviously, I am not advocating to assign exclusive legal and penal culpability to the victim, and I am skeptical about assigning even partial legal and penal culpability to the victim.
Intent is generally hard or impossible to prove, so to legally pursue this path doesn't seem feasible.

However, as far as crime prevention and recovery of victims are concerned, I do think that people would benefit if they would investigate their own intentions and how they may have contributed to them becoming victims or made the experience of the crime worse.

For example, many Tibetan monks and nuns have been victims of severe violence by the Chinese. And yet apart from the physical injuries, these people seem to be doing psychologically very well, with no shame, guilt, anger issues.
Surely we could learn something from them.

9. ### GeoffPCaput gerat lupinumValued Senior Member

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22,087
I'm not sure why one would have an interest in pursuing the path of intent at all in such a case: you've detailed no deed or action that could even be construed as hostile. Nonetheless, you do refrain from this position.

You might ask a victim of any given crime later what they might have done differently, certainly, but I can't say whether Tibetan monks or nuns have dealt with their victimization any better than anyone else. Perhaps they merely validate their own feelings less than others might do. But surely that has no bearing at all on the actions of the perpetrator? In what way could we possibly call the victim responsible for their victimization? Do you have a pertinent example?

10. ### Anti-FlagPun intendedRegistered Senior Member

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3,714
It's because people find it hard to separate emotional response from rationality.
They also find it hard to put themselves in others shoes and will use statistical anomalies and strawman situations to rationalise their view that if the world was perfect it wouldn't happen.
Sadly the world is not perfect and precautions can very often be taken. That's why there is so much education on the matter. :shrug:

11. ### CifoDay destroys the night,Registered Senior Member

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685

Gee, thanks, wynn.

The only reason I can see for taking "responsibility" for being a victim is actually for taking "responsibility" to not be a victim again.

Let's emphasize the "response" part of the word "responsibility".

The only reasonable explanation for a victim taking some "responsibility" is to help them "respond" to reduce their feelings of helplessness and, hopefully, to decrease their chances of being a victim again. I know about this because I'm a victim of a violent crime and I suffer from "learned helplessness", just one symptom of my PTSD.

Let's say that a woman meets a guy on the Internet, agrees to meet him alone in an secluded location, and ends up raped by him. And let's consider the two "responses" available to her:
1. She can feel completely without responsibility in the matter, therefore she can do nothing to change her chances of being raped again. It was just bad luck, or some supreme being rolled the dice and she was the chosen victim, or it was a super-secret government conspiracy, etc, etc. She is totally helpless for the rest of her life in reducing her chances of being raped again. I hope Valiums will help her sleep at night.

2. Or she can feel somewhat empowered and in charge of her life and change things about herself or her life to reduce her chances of being raped again, such as: not dating over the Internet, not meeting anyone in a secluded location, not meeting a stranger alone, carrying a gun, etc. Even if it's totally useless, such as carrying a rabbit's foot, if she believes it will help — if she believes she is empowered — then she will feel more secure and at least get a good night's sleep.
Apparently, the rationale behind drivers in Japan being partly responsible for being a victim of another driver in a car crash is that the victim choose to venture out knowing the possibility existed that they could get involved in a car crash. Maybe someone who knows more about car accidents in Japan can explain it better, but that's how my son, who lived in Japan for a few months, explained it to me.

12. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

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24,690
Whenever something really bad happens to any of us, we can't help stopping to analyze the events and actions leading up to it, wondering whether there was anything we could have done to anticipate it and/or make it less likely and/or be better prepared to minimize the damage. This is true whether it's a natural event like an earthquake (we live in California and all of our heavy furniture is tethered to the walls), an unnatural event like a recession (our funds are rather well diversified although these days I wish we could put some in a bank on another planet), or a personal action like robbery (I have always carried my wallet in my front pocket where I have more nerve endings and Mrs. Fraggle does not carry a purse).

There is a threshold below which it's not unlikely or unreasonable for observers to comment that the victim could have done a little more to protect him- or herself (something like half of all people killed in road accidents in the USA did not have their seat belts fastened, and considering that most of us do, that must increase the odds of dying by a whole order of magnitude).

If an extremely sexy-looking young lady dresses up to make herself look even sexier, carrying a purse in one hand and a latte in the other while talking on a Bluetooth and being oblivious to her surroundings, then goes walking alone down a back alley in the roughest part of town fifteen minutes after the bars close, and something happens to her, I would not be too hard on someone who comments, "What was she thinking?"

It's the perp's fault and he should be treated no differently than the one who breaks into his victim's home. But the doctrine of contributory negligence--the "reasonable man/woman" test--cannot be ignored, even though it would have no bearing in court.

But that's about it. I'm not going to talk about contributory negligence in the other ten thousand cases. Maybe in some cosmic sense that is irrational but I'll live with it. I really don't want to have to live in a world where women are expected to assume that we're all potential rapists, and to protect themselves from us.

That doesn't seem like a very nice place.

13. ### Captain KremmenAll aboard, me Hearties!Valued Senior Member

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Is it taboo?
Or just mistaken.

Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
14. ### BellsStaff Member

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23,499
Click on the links provided with the examples.

Chimpkin provided the age when it occured in post number 69, which led to the exchanges, parts of which I quoted and linked in this thread.

When Chimpkin stated she had blamed herself, which is normal and usual for children who have been sexually abused, Wynn (Signal) then stated the following:

Chimkin then responded to her comments that she was right to blame herself [post 69 which was linked above]:

The rest of Chimpkin's response is also worthy reading and I would suggest you click on the link to read it as she breaks down Signal's post.

The exchange can be found on page 4 of the thread.

She does not blame the 4 year old. She believes that the 4 year old was somewhat complicit and therefore responsible for what happened to herself. In other words, she states that Chimpkin bears some of the responsibility for being raped when she was 4 years of age because she went into the appartment of a man her parents knew, where she was thus raped.

15. ### KilljoyKlownWhateverValued Senior Member

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Bells

I don't remember following those threads. I do however wish Chimpkin would start ID'ing the quotes she uses. At least the first quote and will assume all following quotes in the same post are by the same poster. Next, somehow I don't think she meant it to be taken the way it sounded. But if not I would have expected a clarification and I take it none was received?

Regardless of what a child might feel about being responsible, even when they disobey a parent, they are not responsible for a criminal act committed against them by adults.

However when children commit crimes against others, they do need to be held accountable for their actions.

16. ### BellsStaff Member

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I find that claiming a 4 year old was complicit in her own rape, or partly responsible for being raped is abhorrent and frankly disgusting. But you can see her reasoning behind her beliefs earlier on in this thread when she makes this comment:

It is a well known fact and accepted that victims of rape and sex abuse (as children and adults) feel shame, disgust and yes, self-hatred. Adults who sexually rape and molest children do make the children feel that it was their fault, as do rapists when they rape their victims. I don't think that Wynn quite understands the level of psychological damage that occurs when one is raped or sexually molested or abused. It is documented that rape victims will often blame themselves, sometimes for even leaving the house. It is a coping mechanism. Not because they are responsible or to blame for the actions of another against them. But to apply that standard, to ignore the damage it does, especially when dealing with children and claim that they are responsible or complicit?

It is abhorrent as it is wrong.

17. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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Why would an innocent victim feel those things?
Simply because it is a socio-psychological habit in these parts of the world?

Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
18. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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You do not think that considering others stupid, or wanting to sexually provoke them, or demean them, is hostile?

19. ### chimpkinC'mon, get happy!Registered Senior Member

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Sorry, was a bit shaken up by that point... was sort of not all there.

Children generally idealize adults, and assume everything is their fault. Mainly because they can't admit the more frightening possibility-the huge people around them are out of control and dangerous.

Too, I think there's something especially nasty about being raped. It's as if someone's using your soul to wipe their a with. I think that's why rape victims blame themselves.
The frightening thing is, no matter how cautious and vigilant you are...you are reducing your odds of becoming a victim. Not eliminating them. Other people want to blame victims because it means they can make themselves safe...except that's just a lie they are telling themselves.

Someone I talked to thought they had their lake-house burglar-proofed...the burglars used breaker bars and came in through the ceiling. The owners sold it after that, they could not keep it secure.

Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
20. ### KilljoyKlownWhateverValued Senior Member

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I'm sorry but a 4 year old child is innocent by definition. They don't have the life experience to be anything other than innocent. What their immature minds feel about anything is simply not relevant to being responsible.

Many adult women feel responsible for the beatings they get at the hands of an abuser, like somehow it's their fault. These are adults that are emotionally crippled and can't help themselves. Why would you think the feelings of a 4 year old are evidence of guilt?

21. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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The fact is that these adults, although victims, are there in those relationships.
To insist in one's innoncence is to claim "I'm not there, I wasn't there" - when the fact is that, obviously, one was there.

22. ### BellsStaff Member

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That you even need to ask the question says there is something significantly wrong with you.

That you could even say that a 4 year old should be somewhat responsible for allowing herself to be raped by an adult, that she was somewhat complict says there is something significantly wrong with you.

That you could doubt and word it in the sense that how could a child be "innocent" if they felt shame or guilt says there is something signficantly wrong with you.

Self blame and guilt is a coping mechanism. Not because they are to blame for what happened to them or because they are in fact guilty or not innocent. But it is common because of the type of psychological damage that occurs when one is raped or sexually abused, be it as an adult or a child. That you could somehow deem this as a form of complicity or that they are somehow responsible.. It is kind of pathetic really.

There is a plethora of help available for people with dissocial personality disorders such as yourself. I would strongly recommend you seek help from a professional.

23. ### wynn˙Valued Senior Member

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You are unable to analytically explain a phenomenon
and your solution is to blame me??