6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

文章Michael-liu » 週二 5月 29, 2018 12:59 am



The Psychology of Victim-Blaming
--When people want to believe that the world is just, and that bad things won’t happen to them, empathy can suffer.


Victim-blaming comes in many forms, and is oftentimes subtle and unconscious. It can apply to cases of rape and sexual assault, but also to more mundane crimes, like a person who gets pickpocketed and is then chided for his decision to carry his wallet in his back pocket. Any time someone defaults to questioning what a victim could have done differently to prevent a crime, he or she is participating, to some degree, in the culture of victim-blaming.

While victim-blaming isn’t entirely universal (some individuals’ experiences, background, and culture make them significantly less likely to victim-blame), in some ways, it is a natural psychological reaction to crime. Not everyone who engages in victim-blaming explicitly accuses someone of failing to prevent what happened to them. In fact, in its more understated forms, people may not always realize they’re doing it. Something as simple as hearing about a crime and thinking you would have been more careful had you been in the victim’s shoes is a mild form of victim-blaming.

“I think the biggest factor that promotes victim-blaming is something called "the just world theory,” says Sherry Hamby, a professor of psychology. “It’s this idea that people deserve what happens to them. There’s just a really strong need to believe that we all deserve our outcomes and consequences.”

Hamby explains that this desire to see the world as just and fair may be even stronger among Americans, who are raised in a culture that promotes the American Dream and the idea that we all control our own destinies.“In other cultures, where sometimes because of war or poverty or maybe sometimes even just because of a strong thread of fatalism in the culture, it’s a lot better recognized that sometimes bad things happen to good people,” she says. “But as a general rule, Americans have a hard time with the idea that bad things happen to good people.”Holding victims responsible for their misfortune is partially a way to avoid admitting that something just as unthinkable could happen to you—even if you do everything “right.”

While victim-blaming often brings to mind crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence, it occurs across the board, explains Barbara Gilin, a professor of social work at Widener University. Murders, burglaries, abductions—whatever the crime, many people tend to default to victim-blaming thoughts and behaviors as a defense mechanism in the face of bad news. Gilin notes that, while people tend to be able to accept natural disasters as unavoidable, many feel that they have a little more control over whether they become victims of crimes, that they can take precautions that will protect them. Therefore, some people have a harder time accepting that the victims of these crimes didn’t contribute to (and bear some responsibility for) their own victimization.

“In my experience, having worked with a lot of victims and people around them, people blame victims so that they can continue to feel safe themselves,” Gilin explains. “I think it helps them feel like bad things will never happen to them. They can continue to feel safe. Surely, there was some reason that the neighbor’s child was assaulted, and that will never happen to their child because that other parent must have been doing something wrong.”

Hamby adds that even the most well-intentioned people sometimes contribute to victim blaming, like therapists who work in prevention programs where women are given recommendations about how to be careful and avoid becoming the victim of a crime.

“The absolute safest thing to do would be to never leave your house because then you’d be much less likely to get victimized,” she says. “I don’t think people have done a very good job of thinking that through and trying to say what the limits of people’s responsibility are for avoiding crime.”

Laura Niemi, a postdoctoral associate in psychology at Harvard University, and Liane Young, a professor of psychology at Boston College, have been conducting research that they hope will address the phenomenon of victim blaming head-on. This summer, they published their findings in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Their research, which involved 994 participants and four separate studies, led to several significant findings. First, they noted that moral values play a large role in determining the likelihood that someone will engage in victim-blaming behaviors, such as rating the victim as “contaminated” rather than “injured,” and thus stigmatizing that person more for having been the victim of a crime. Niemi and Young identified two primary sets of moral values: binding values and individualizing values. While everyone has a mix of the two, people who exhibit stronger binding values tend to favor protecting a group or the interests of a team as a whole, whereas people who exhibit stronger individualizing values are more focused on fairness and preventing harm to an individual.

Niemi explains that a higher endorsement of binding values reliably predicted stigmatizing attitudes about victims—in the context of both sexual and non-sexual crimes. People who favored binding values were more likely to see victims as blameworthy, while people who favored individualizing values were more likely to be sympathetic to victims.

In another study, Niemi and Young presented participants with vignettes that described hypothetical crimes, such as: “Lisa was approached by Dan at a party. Dan gave Lisa a drink spiked with Rohypnol. Later that night, Lisa was assaulted by Dan.” Participants were then asked what could have changed about the events to achieve a different outcome.Unsurprisingly, participants who exhibited stronger binding values were more likely to assign responsibility for the crime to the victim or suggest actions the victim could have taken to change the outcome. People who exhibited stronger individualizing values tended to do the opposite. But when the researchers manipulated the language of the vignettes, they found something interesting.

Niemi and Young manipulated the sentence structure in the vignettes, changing who was the subject of the majority of sentences, the victim or the perpetrator. Some groups were given vignettes with the victim in the subject position (e.g. “Lisa was approached by Dan”) and others were given vignettes with the perpetrator in the subject position (e.g. “Dan approached Lisa”).

When the perpetrator was the subject of the sentence, participants’ “ratings of victim blame and victim responsibility went down significantly,” Niemi says. “And when we asked them explicitly how could this outcome have been different and then we just gave them an empty text box and they could fill in whatever they wanted, their actual references to victim’s actions—things like, ‘Oh, she could have called a cab’—they decreased. So they actually had a harder time coming up with things that victims could have done and were focusing less on the victim’s behavior in general. That suggests that how we present these cases in text can change how people think about victims.”

While Gilin notes that people are more likely to be sympathetic to victims that they know well, reading about crimes reported in the media can sometimes increase a tendency for victim-blaming. The victims people read about in the media are usually strangers to them, and those stories can trigger that cognitive dissonance between the ingrained belief in a just world and clear evidence that life is not always fair. What’s more, if the coverage focuses on the victim’s experience and story—even in a sympathetic way—Niemi and Young’s research suggests it might increase the likelihood of victim-blaming. Stories that focus on the perpetrator of the crime, however, could be less likely to provoke that reaction.

“It’s an interesting finding because it does suggest that we want to be sympathetic and focus on victims and outpour our sympathy, but perhaps that might actually lead us to focus so much on victims and what they could have done that we actually neglect to focus on the agency of perpetrators [and what they] potentially could have done differently,” Niemi says.

At its core, victim blaming could stem from a combination of failure to empathize with victims and a fear reaction triggered by the human drive for self-preservation. That fear reaction, in particular, can be a difficult one for some people to control. Retraining this instinct is possible—it just isn’t easy. Hamby and Gilin both emphasize the importance of empathy training and openness to seeing (or at least trying to see) the world from perspectives other than one’s own, which helps people avoid falling into the trap of speculating about what a victim could have done differently to avoid the crime.

“Just because, in hindsight, you can go back and say, ‘Well, you know, that person was clearly the person you should have avoided,’ that’s not the same as being able to say that any reasonable person should have been able to foresee that at the time,” Hamby says. Niemi suggests that getting to the root of the problem might involve reframing the way we think about perpetrators as well as victims, particularly in cases of rape.“One thing that might be problematic is the mythologizing of rape and how it’s made to be so that no normal person could be perceived as being a rapist,” she explains. “When it occurs, it’s so horrifying that people can’t conceive that their own brother or person that they know could be a rapist.”

Niemi explains that it can be hard, especially for the loved ones of perpetrators, to reconcile the fact that someone they know so well and see as such a good person could commit a crime that they see as monstrous. In some cases, this might lead to over-empathizing with perpetrators and focusing on their other achievements or attributes, as with coverage of the Stanford rape case, in which Brock Turner was sometimes described as star swimmer instead of as an accused rapist. This is another kind of defense mechanism, one that leads those close to perpetrators to either deny or diminish their crime in order to avoid dealing with the difficult cognitive process of accepting that they were capable of such a thing.

No matter what we want to believe, the world is not a just place. And it takes some difficult cognitive work to accept both that bad things sometimes happen to good people, and that seemingly normal people sometimes do bad things.

Some examples of victim-blaming incidents in Taiwan:

--八仙樂園塵爆事件
--房思琪誘姦事件
--璩美鳳性愛光碟偷拍事件

Please note that no hard copy of question sheets will be provided. Please bring your own copy.

Session 1

1. Do you believe in the concept of good people deserve good things, and bad people deserve bad things?
2. Be honest. Have you ever thought about" they deserved it!" in your mind in the above three Taiwanese cases?
3. Are people who blame victims in sexual assault cases are mostly women? If the answer is yes, why?

Session 2

1. Do you agree that sexual assault or harassment victims may be concerned about victim-blaming phenomenon so that they dare not speak out what
happened to them?
2. Do you agree that if media coverage focuses more on the victims, it may lead to more victim-blaming?
3. Does the existence of Internet contribute a lot to victim-blaming? Before Internet was invented, how could we blame the victims?
最後由 Michael-liu 於 週六 6月 02, 2018 2:33 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 4 次。
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Re: 6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

文章Michael-liu » 週三 5月 30, 2018 5:27 pm

test
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Re: 6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

文章Gloria Lo » 週五 6月 01, 2018 10:40 am

8)
It's a very good topic and I find Michael is an excellent question maker.
I try to answer one or two questions, please bear with me.

Q1
Do you believe in the concept of good people deserve good things, and bad people deserve bad things?

A:
I try hard to believe in the concept of good people deserve good things, and bad people deserve bad things, but apparently, things don’t go like that. We try to find the logic behind, try to explain the mysterious power which runs the world, but in vain. Some people believe in Karma, but it doesn’t sound highly convincing to me.

Due to the need of settling my mind, applying “the law of attraction” to my life seems terrific because people can’t conquer this mysterious strength and we need something to rely on. Being happy, then many happy things will happen on you. I think to some extent, you can also interpret it as “Enjoy it while it still lasts.”

:lol:
最後由 Gloria Lo 於 週五 6月 01, 2018 10:47 am 編輯,總共編輯了 1 次。
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Re: 6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

文章Gloria Lo » 週五 6月 01, 2018 10:41 am

:mrgreen:

Q2
Be honest. Have you ever thought about" they deserved it!" in your mind in the above three Taiwanese cases? Can you think of any other victim-blaming cases in Taiwan?

A:
I admit that I have the victim-blaming thought. In my opinion, accidents happen everywhere, and we can’t escape. The only thing we can do is ask ourselves to avoid dangerous occasions, come home earlier, wear more decently, etc.

After reading the article, I’m more aware of not hurting victims by those “kind reminders”. (On the contrary, I’ll keep that in my mind only from now on, haha.)

In our culture, we have a strong concept of “It takes two to tango.”
In classroom, I always find some students easily get involved into quarrel or fighting while others keep distance from those stuff, learning happily. So when those arguments keep on occurring, I just can’t help but blame both two sides, victims and injurers, and in kids’ situations, they usually play both roles at the same time.

:lol:
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Re: 6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

文章jay_chang » 週五 6月 01, 2018 9:38 pm

test, test, sorry
mamba mentality
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Re: 6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

文章jay_chang » 週五 6月 01, 2018 10:15 pm

Hi nice to see you guys here!
I'll not attend this Saturday's meeting cus I'm busy for planning Europe trip, sorry.
But I still prepare something to share with YOYOers. HaHa :mrgreen:

For Session I:

1. Good people "should" deserve good things, but sometimes nothing comes out as planned. There is a famous South Korean zombie apocalypse thriller film called "Train to Busan" that came to my mind. The film take place on a train from Seoul Station to Busan, as a zombie apocalypse suddenly breakout in the country and compromises the safety of the passengers. 孔劉 and 大叔 want to protect other passenger's life so they fight with zombie but finally they were all bitten by zombie and dead. This movie is the dark face of life, selfish human nature survive in the end.

2. Two years ago Neihu random kill people incident (小燈泡事件), the legislator blame 小燈泡's mom, "How can you stay so calm after your daugher be killed ?", "Cases of mental illness deserving of study because of 小燈泡's mom is the supporter of end the death penalty.", "小燈泡's mother over-rational actually makes me feel a little bit cold-blooded..." all kind of victim blaming phenomena.

3. There are several psychological concepts that can explain this phenomenon

Fundamental Attribution Error:
For example, seeing someone who driving very fast will feel that the other person is “crude and impetuously” or “who is very 三寶”, seeing other people driving very slowly will feel that the other guys is a “newbie” or “cannot understand the situation”.
However, if you drive very fast, you will feel that it is because "you must take your wife to the hospital.", If you drive in a slow way, you will think that it is because "I am carrying children and children are crying."
This is "cognitive bias" phenomenon.

Believe Just World Theory:
Such an explanation reinforces the belief that “if being a good person, bad things never happend on me” and increases the sense of security.

Last, I want to share is
These concepts popular in English proverb such as:
"You got what was coming to you."
"You reap what you sow."
"What goes around comes around."
"Get what you deserve."(similar to karma in Buddhist)
"Curses, like chickens, come home to roost."

End
Thank you

P.S. Have you guys seen NBA Final Game 1 this morning ?
How funny JR Smith was XDDDDDDDDDDD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Nn5YEQTYxo
https://imgur.com/a/q7My98Z
http://i.imgur.com/jthlAJl.jpg

豬隊友 in english is jackass of all trades
LBJ fighted for 48 mins and JR screw it up in the last 4.7 sec. Jackass of all trades.
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define. ... l%20trades
最後由 jay_chang 於 週六 6月 02, 2018 12:22 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 1 次。
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Re: 6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

文章Kooper » 週六 6月 02, 2018 12:15 pm

Hi Jay,

These are good answers to the questions. :D

Speaking of JR Smith's mistake in the last 4.7 second of the first NBA Finals game, which eventually led to the Cavaliers' loss to the Warriors, I cannot help but think if all the mocking or laughing of JR could be considered as the manifestation of victim blame? We could use it as a discussion topic if, luckily, there are enough NBA fans showing up in the meeting today. :sun:
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註冊時間: 週三 4月 11, 2007 11:40 pm

Re: 6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

文章Kooper » 週六 6月 02, 2018 2:08 pm

Fairness is one of the main sources of human happiness and inner peace. In the aftermath of the world war II and the Chinese civil wars between communists and KMT, the lion’s share of Taiwanese residents lived in straitened circumstances. Their life standards were awful to today’s eyes. But chances are they lived no less happily than modern people: Everybody was equally poor and there was little wealth gap, if any, between the poor and the rich.

People love to play Monday morning quarterback and that attitude is not limited to sports. We make every endeavor to find convincing reasons why something happened and why it is such case. Resigning ourselves to the fact that most events happen, be it pleasant or miserable, just out of the luck of the draw is against the mainstream belief of modern societies; it brings us anxiety and defuels our motivation with just a fleeting of thought that our lives could went out of hand someday.

My takeaway from the article is that the way a tragedy is depicted, whether being narrated from the victim or culprit’s position, could impact the extent of subsequent victim blame. Guess the media should keep that in mind and be more mindful of their tones when reporting criminal or tragic news.

The Internet is a breeding ground for bullying or finger-pointing because of its anonymity, and victim blaming is no exception. The anonymity in these malicious cases, sadly, brings out the worst in people. There is a saying that goes ‘Out of sight, out of mind.’ In the old days victim blaming was arguably less common or severe given the geographical constraints. The Internet and all the applications based on it like e-mails and social media, nevertheless, have made it almost impossible for victims to unhear or unsee these negative comments.
Kooper
Vice President
 
文章: 2421
註冊時間: 週三 4月 11, 2007 11:40 pm

Re: 6/2 (Sat.) Why Do People Blame Victims?(Host:Michael)

文章Michael-liu » 週六 6月 02, 2018 10:19 pm

Attendee list:

Jenny, Way, Kooper, Summer, Vicky, Brian, Ryan, John, Abbey, Andy, Luis, Sabrina, Tim, Kat,
Tom, David Jr., Dan, Ramesh, Steve, Rosie, Joseph, Ken, Catherine.

By the way, John, the below is the website link of the article. Actually, I deleted the first three paragraphs.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/10/the-psychology-of-victim-blaming/502661/
Michael-liu
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文章: 529
註冊時間: 週五 4月 24, 2009 6:09 pm


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