Blaming Victims Symptom Of Psychological Disorder

Dr. Md. Enamul Hoque

21 January 2021

We are psychologically hardwired to blame the victim. It is a symptom of psychological disorder towards negativity. Psychologists believe that our tendency to blame the victim may originate from ignorance and meanness. People blame a victim to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. Our trend to blame the victim is eventually self-protective.
We want the world to be a fair place, the good will be rewarded, the evil punished. As a result, we blame the victims of their misfortune, suffering, and killing. While these manners grant us some sense of control over our lives, they also compromise our ability to sympathize with others and perpetuate public stigma. The first reaction, to blame the victim, is clearly no longer the right action. In almost all cases, victim of sexual violence faces multiple social and psychological challenges in Bangladesh.
The incident of rape followed by murder is not unfamiliar in our country. Recently, we are shocked to observe a heinous crime, a rape and brutally killing of a 17 year old girl at a flat in Dhaka's Kalabagan area. Most of the people blamed the victim even after her death; they massively commented and viewed against the victim as if she herself did the crime and was wholly responsible for her own killing.
In Bangladesh, the victims are repeatedly victimized by blaming; people often place the blame on the shoulders of the victim. Most of the people in social Medias, without knowing the real truth behind, have been blaming the girl, for her going to the friend's house; and insulting her family for not taking care of their daughter and allowing her free mixing with boys. Many individuals, both male and female, reacted to the trial and the guilty verdicts by harshly blaming the girl for being raped, and declared the accused(s) almost innocence.
Research finds that more blame is attributed to the victim and less blame is endorsed to the perpetrator for rape and killing. Knowing about a prior relationship between victim and perpetrator increases ratings of victim blaming and decreases perceptions of perpetrator blaming in the rape cases. Within this culture of victim blaming, women are advised to change their own behavior, dress-up and lifestyle in order to avoid being assaulted or raped. Women are told repeatedly to dress less provocatively, and not put themselves in risky situations. This spreads the belief that women are at mistake when they are assaulted, and leads to a lack of accountability for men.
Even though some instances of victim-blaming undoubtedly originate from ignorance, meanness, or a smug sense of superiority, there may be other, even more significant causes. That is because the habit to blame the victim may be programmed into the human mind at a very basic level. None of us should re-traumatize the victims; and, none of us should give perpetrators a pass. Male and female need to work together to change the culture of victim blaming, and help reduce violence against anybody.
Sexual violence against women has become a serious problem in the country. People from various walks of life gathered to protest rapes across Bangladesh in recent weeks. Consequently, the government has approved an amendment that would allow for the death penalty in rape cases, as anger grows over repeated incidents across the country of sexual assaults. Even after approving death penalty for rape, instead of reducing the sexual violence, the incidents of rape cases are rapidly increasingly day by day. As we see, rape or violence against women is not decreasing; due to the lack of proper and timely justice. The other reasons for the increase of such crimes are negligence in fulfilling responsibilities by the authorities concerned. Ignoring political identity, the law enforcers must treat every issue with seriousness, not only the sensational ones.
A woman generally tends to avoid legal proceedings as she becomes more stigmatized by society and is afraid of filing complaints, anticipating negligence and humiliation in the police station, the courts, and the society. With a view to preventing this intensifying pattern of sexual violence against women, proper prevention and punishment measures need to be implemented. Only passing news law with provision capital punishment cannot reduce or stop the sexual crimes, rather our moral attitudes must be changed. People are living in an uncontrolled state and society where the perpetrators try to use political power to escape punishment.
Instead of focusing only on victims' behaviour and dress-up, we need to ask more questions about why perpetrators continue to commit  such acts of violence and crimes, and why some are allowed to take far more than their fair share in a world that most of us would prefer to see as rational.
Mass people believe that existing laws on the protection of women's rights should be efficiently implemented. The law enforcement agencies need to deal with the situation with sincerity, integrity, loyalty, and strong dedication, without hesitation or prejudice. We need to teach our children to secure themselves. We must teach our boys and girls moral and religious education how to value and treat girls and women as equals. The parents and family need to be careful about their children's activities, and should keep them under surveillance. It is necessary for men and women to come together and raise their voices of sexual violence against women, not blaming the victim.

(Dr. Enamul is educational researcher and teacher educator. He is ex- professor of English.  Email:

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