Defining and Identifying Victim Blaming

Why victim blaming is so common in today’s society

“Why do people try and explain their abuse which places focus on the person with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)/Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), ie: the abuser, instead of the victim ending the abuse by ending the relationship?”

The above statement is an attempt to gaslight and devalue a victim’s right to explore and understand the reasons for their loved one’s mental illness by shifting the focus away from the mentally ill person and attempting to place blame and shame on the victim. Politicians know this as “spin“. (1) This type of language in discourse is myth making language and is similar to rape myths found in cultures of deviance.

Research investigations into cases of sexual assault (rape) have uncovered the existence of dominant narratives supporting myths found in rape culture. These dominant narratives are prejudicial, stereotyped, false beliefs about rape, rape victims, and the rapists. These dominant narratives are widely believed and persistently held and are completely false.

Perspectiside

Perspectiside has been defined as the inability to know what you already know through gaslighting techniques of the abuser/narcissist. (2) This technique can be subtle or blatantly obvious to notice, but it involves getting the victim to question what they already know to be true. It creates confusion and disorientation by casting doubt in the minds of the victim and onlookers. For example, in the Steubenville rape case which occurred August 11, 2012, students believed the girl who was gang raped by members of the football team was responsible for her own rape because she got drunk and passed out. Not only was this girl gang raped, but the men who raped her, urinated all over her after they were done. (3) The myth narratives which surfaced over certain students’ social media accounts consisted of phrases like, “If you don’t want to get raped, don’t get sloppy drunk homegirl.” Statements such as these are part of gaslighting techniques which seek to alleviate responsibility from those responsible and cast blame on to the victim in something that is also known as victim blaming.

To understand the its deleterious effects, let’s compare them to the historical event that sparked the massive hangings of “witches” in Salem, Massachusetts known as the Salem witch trials. (4) The cause of the Salem witch trials took root in the economic loss of one priest’s monthly stipend and the manifestation of a young 16-year-old girl’s, Elizabeth Knapp, bizarre symptoms which today have been posthumously diagnosed as belonging to hysteria. The psychological effects of growing up in an atmosphere of religious repression was harsh. To quote the book, A Delusion of Satan: The full story of the Salem witch trials,

“Terror and shame were used to encourage conformity even in the youngest. It was made clear to small children that they, were in as much danger of hellfire as adults. They were reminded that, however young they were, they might sicken and die at any time. The thoughtful ones agonized incessantly over the state of their consciences.”

In the Devaluation Phase of the narcissist, dominant myth narratives may be utilized by the abuser to procure conformity and act upon the consciousness of her behavior. (5) For example, a woman attempting to educate herself about her mentally ill husband might be greeted with a phrase like, “If you want to “educate” yourself why don’t you go into the basement and educate yourself about the plumbing problem?” This is an attempt to devalue the victim’s attempts at academic learning and bolster the worth of the plumber. It is a very common approach utilized by narcissists time and time again. It is a result of splitting, that is the splitting of Objects into “good” and “bad” parts belonging to the paranoid schizoid position. (6)

When we compare this to the dominant narratives within the Steubenville rape case, dominant narratives that seek to alleviate responsibility of the rapists and place blame on the actions of the victim, we can see striking similarities between the two (rapists/narcissistic abuser) dominant narratives. To read further about the Steubenville rape case click the link below:

https://proclivitiesprinciplewisdom.wordpress.com/2019/04/13/normalization-of-sexual-violence-and-its-legitimacy-through-language-and-discourse-through-speech-and-writing/

Sources:

(1) The History Channel. America’s Book of Secrets: Special Edition. S1, E1. White House Secrets and Scandals. Aired on August 11, 2020.

(2) Evan Stark. (2007) Coercive Control: The entrapment of women in personal life. New York. Oxford University Press. pp. 267-269.

(3) Kosloski, Anna E.; Diamond-Welch, Bridget K. (Ph.D.); Mann, Olivia (Ph.D.), The Presence of Rape Myths in the Virtual World: A Qualitative Textual Analysis of the Steubenville Sexual Assault Case. Violence and Gender. Vol. 5, No.3 (published online October 5, 2018)

(4) Frances Hill. (1995) A Delusion of Satan: The full story of the Salem witch trials. Boston, Massachusetts. Da Capo Press.

(5) Judith Butler. (1997) The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in subjection. Stanford, California. Stanford University Press.

(6) Amber Jacobs. (2007) On Matricide: Myth, psychoanalysis, and the law of the mother. New York. Columbia University Press. pp.77-79.

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