Sexual assault is one of the most demeaning crimes against humanity and can be subjected to anybody. But what hurts and breaks the victim the most is how he or she is perceived by society. Our society goes by a few rules about how a victim should act in cases of assault, and if not behaved in that particular way, the society forgets that the person was a victim and blames him or her entirely for such a heinous incident. It’s as if that person wanted to be sexually abused!
This ridiculous sense of our society has preyed on so many women and men, young boys, and girls, that out of spite, they many times think taking their own lives is the only way out. This page solely focuses on the psychology of our society and what behaviour of the victim makes them get dismissed by the society with their empathy turning into victim harassment.
Not coming forward right away:
This is one of the most dominant reasons why people disbelieve the victim. As the incident passes the time, people tend to mellow down their anger against such heinous crimes with a diminishing empathy factor. At such, if the victim accuses someone sexually abusing her, people tend to disregard it. But what should be kept in mind is that many times, victims are threatened of dire consequences if he/she ends up telling anyone or threatens of hurting her or her loved ones. Sexually exploiting a human is already a very dark crime, one that leaves a lifetime of scars behind, and on top of that, if he or she is threatened, their tendency of backing off is high. Therefore, if the women accuse someone much later than that of the incident, people tend to misjudge.
Not acting like a victim:
As I mentioned earlier, our society has certain behavioral patterns that stereotype a victim, and if you don’t act like one, you are not the one. For example, a sexually abused victim is supposed to be depressed sad, and morose forever so that everybody gets to know that something is wrong with him or her. But what people tend to forget is that every human has a different way of expressing their anguish over something that was so brutally taken away from them. Our body is like a precious gem to us, one which we take care of our entire life, but a sexual abuse exploits our body in unprecedented ways; thus, making us react in a way that is not acceptable according to the “norms’ of the society. This makes society disregard and disbelieve the victim.
Being in contact with your abuser even after the accident
This factor comes into play more into workplaces as the abuser is often in a very high position in the company, making it impossible for the subordinate to file a complaint. Almost 87% of the time, instead of taking actions, such employees are fired away to avoid legalities and maintain the reputation of the company. Thus, firing the subordinate is one of the simpler and cheaper solutions. Many employees who have been victims are scared to lose their jobs and are forced to in contact with their abuser. But this trait again is misjudged by the society dismissing the person as a ‘victim.’
The story not sounding real or legit:
Most of the victims are in a state of shock about what happened to them. At such remembering, the details of other things won’t come to that person naturally. Often when such incidences occur, the mind’s defense systems get activated trying to block that particular memory as it’s painful, and with the time that memory becomes dim while everything around it fades away. Therefore cross-questioning the victim might lead to various answers to the same question. But instead of encouraging the victim to take their time to remember, society believes in criticizing the victim, making them sound fake.
One of the ridiculous questions that people ask sexual assault victims is, why didn’t they fight back? One answer to this extremely insensitive question is because they couldn’t. There could be many reasons to it like the assaulter was carrying a weapon, they were too many to fight, threatening, and fear for the survival. First of all, the mind takes time to register such horrible feelings happening to you. Even if your adrenalin kicks on, the fear that might kill you often immobilize the victim, preventing her from any reaction. Therefore, judging someone on the basis of why didn’t they fight when they could, is a very demeaning way of perceiving the victim’s pain.
Therefore, a matter as delicate as a sexual assault should be dealt with proper sensitivity and our society should be educated on how to perceive such incidents and how to deal with such victims. When half of the victim’s families are criticizing the victims due to societal pressure, it leaves them no way of forgetting about it and coming out. At such if a victim acts in a ‘Not so much of a victim’ way, then that way should be respected and accepted, if not encouraged. After all, they are one of us and deserve to live in peace!