A Short Meditation on Victim Blaming

Victims deserve pity not blame.

It is almost impossible to respect someone you pity.

I would rather be blamed.

sexypity“It is the spirit of our times to honor the victimized. They, the downtrodden, the deliciously injured, the erotically disempowered – how lovely is it to shower our pity down on their bowed shoulders? How fervid is that moment when we might gather up one who has been shattered and dry their tears?

How merciful to descend on these lowly victims and absolve them of responsibility. “You couldn’t have done anything,” we assure. “You can do nothing in the future. Nothing.” We assuage and caress sobbing shoulders. Oh, the justice in this moment! How heroic! How positively virile we look by comparison with these!

There is no other way with these broken, these powerless, these eternally and deliciously disempowered. To hold one of the honored victims accountable for his or her victimization would be to crush them under a reality too harsh, too real, to Darwinian. For this is the essense of the sacred, honored victim – weakness, pitiable weakness so intense we might make love in its afterglow. 

But we must be careful. When one of these precious, these honored and sacred victims falls prey to the scourge of victim-blaming all is lost. No more might we join in communal orgasm with appreciation of their bruised and battered lowness.   

The victim, the object of our ardour, should he reject our absolution, might turn his eyes toward a future less broken, less pitiful. Should the victim, delicious in her helplessness, take responsibility for her victimization she might grow strong, formidible, independent – one might rightly call such a person repulsive.”

***

Is there such a thing as the duty to avoid victimization? I don’t know and I’m not sure such a question is even answerable. Even without such a duty, though, I would rather you blame me when I’m victimized.

Pity is bad. It is a “strong feeling of sadness or sympathy for someone or something.” It is “something that causes sadness or disappointment.” I don’t want to cause a feeling of strong sadness when other people think about me. I don’t want to be something that causes disappointment.

Victimhood is passive. It is the realm of puppies and idiots and Victorian ladies in whalebone corsettes. It is the realm of eternally defiled women weeping in courtrooms. It is the impotent flailing of a cripple or the retreat of one who cannot protect his family. By the very act of escaping responsibility these victims likewise cast off their human agency. I’d much sooner die than lose my agency.

Blame is active. If it’s my damned fault when somebody steals my watch, breaks into my house, seduces my girlfriend or rapes me in a shower then there’s somewhere for me to go. I can get better at spotting cons, I can learn about security, I can keep my girlfriend happier or I can learn how to break arms the next time somebody tries to mess with me. All that requires I take responsibility for my victimization.

This isn’t to say the watch stealer/lothario/whoever isn’t also to blame. But that’s outside me. It’s something I, by definition, can’t control. Perhaps I’m being flip, but because the activities of victimizers are outside my control, they aren’t nearly as important.

So, please, hold me responsible when bad things happen. I’m not going to be crushed under the responsibility and I really, really don’t want your pity.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-our-way/201409/is-so-called-victim-blaming-always-bad

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4 comments

  1. I like this very much, well done. To pity someone is to rob them of their power. There’s a fine line there between empathy and pity. When we empathize we are perceiving people as a whole people capable of solving their own problems, the most qualified to figure it out. We are recognizing their humanity and believing in their autonomy. Pity is how we instead establish a hierarchy and elevate ourselves to the status of rescuer. The victim than becomes a poor unfortunate soul who better stay in their designated place so we can keep feeling good about ourselves. Because of that, victims worshipers will actually invest in keeping their victims, victims. While blame can false or accusatory,it is also empowering. When something is your fault, it means you have the power to change it. We don’t always have the power to change it, but we always have complete control over how we are going to respond to it.

    1. I think you said it better than I did. Even if it’s just an illusion of control, I’d rather take responsibilty for my own fate.

  2. Over the fence, and out of the park. You have just described an entire political philosophy and explained why the decades old War on Poverty has not succeeded. On an individual level the victim/rescuer dynamic is one of empowerment on the one hand, comfort without responsibility on the other. On a national level it is more about generating wealth at the expense of those who can be convinced to self-identify as “victims.”

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I’m curious about your wealth comment. Could you expand?

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