Breaking Down My Thoughts: Victim Blaming

By: Dani Kessel

Preface: Do not ask for any details or specifics about my own trauma. I *will not* tolerate questioning on the subject. That information is my business to share on my terms, and that is not what this article is about.

This past week, I wrote out a whole article about why I like true crime. The gist is that I want to feel safe. I watch it and COMPLETELY FALSELY feel like there is something I could absorb from the stories to stop myself from being revictimized (since I have been through trauma before). Truthfully, I am extremely fearful of ever being a victim again. So, when watching or reading true crime content, I try to get into the head of a criminal to understand what they are looking for. Yes, I am aware that a criminal often does not have the most accurate world-perception or psychological state. With many criminals, they would blame the victim. To me, that’s completely unacceptable. 

I read the article back, talked through it with a friend, and I became extremely cognizant of the fact that my mentality on the topic (no matter how nuanced and complicated) still fed into victim-blaming. It may have existed in a gray area, but it still had serious potential to hurt someone. 

I decided not to publish that article and to share this instead.

I have always prided myself on loudly condemning victim-blaming. I’m outspoken when it comes to the treatment and respect of victims. No victim is responsible for the harm done to them. No clothing, alcohol, late-night walks, or being alone makes a victim at fault. PERIOD. The only person at fault for crimes are the criminals. We need to listen to victims and believe them. There is never an excuse to point a finger back at them.

With the article I wrote on true crime, I realized that even I have blindspots though. I need to check myself. When I engage with true crime content, I fall into the trap of victim-blaming myself.

I am wrong.

My thoughts about true crime may not overtly blame others for their trauma, but it vaguely implies it. It also certainly reflects my own sense of self-blame. I think that, somewhere deep down, I believe I could’ve or should’ve done something to prevent my traumas. Reflecting on everything, I realize that I am providing myself with a very false sense of security built on a majorly incorrect notion. I need to be much more aware of that.

I want you guys reading this to know that I am not perfect. I am working on confronting my flaws and biases. Just because I am a writer and have the platform to share my voice does not mean I am immune to logical fallacies and harmful beliefs. 

I am growing. 

I know that you, too, are growing.

My hope is that we can all together open ourselves up to the idea of being wrong sometimes. I want to lead by example here. There are always areas in which we need more education. Please be kind to each other as we all attempt to navigate, assess, and deconstruct our thoughts on complicated issues.

Thank you for reading this article.

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