Examples of victim blaming:
Victim blaming occurs at a higher rate in sexual assault in comparison to other crimes. Victim blaming is not a beneficial reaction and often leaves the victim feeling guilty, distraught, and hopeless. Individuals whom experience sexual violence trauma feel shame, fear, anger, and isolation. The aftermath of sexual violence can have lasting psychological affects diminishing judgement, reasoning, trust, intimacy, and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. Many victims fear reporting these crimes such as gross sexual imposition, groping, sexual battery, sexual harassment, sexual coercion, and rape.
How can we better respond to individuals who have experienced sexual violence?
We have to empathize - the ability to understand how a person may feel if we were in their shoes. It is important to support sexual violence victims regardless of if or when they decide to tell their story, and regardless of the form of accountability that they seek. For many survivors it can be extremely challenging to report the crime. To overcome barriers and challenges we have to show support. It is best to avoid judgement, check in periodically, and assist with providing available resources.