May 232013
 

Victim blaming is so common, we accept this shift by feeling responsible for another person’s crime.

Locking vehicle doors may have resulted from victim blaming.

Photo by Victor Habbick/freedigitalphotos.net

Remember when we didn’t lock our vehicles, much less we had the car windows rolled down to keep the heat out. How about leaving the front doors of our homes open?

Don’t remember? Are you too young?

Well, that is how it ‘used’ to be before we encountered this phenomenon of victim blaming.

Nowadays, when people walk away from their vehicles, they click the key fob and wait for the beep. This assures them the vehicles are securely locked and safe from criminals. They believe they did their part in case of a burglary, which removes their anxiety. If no beep, they become uneasy, with almost a fearful, paranoid feeling ensuing.

That easy feeling could be to avoid being blamed if the vehicle was burglarized.

Victim blaming

Our societal acceptance of these minuscule lifestyle factors (locking doors) have not only changed over the years, but have changed our inner sense of self. We feel it’s partially our fault the crime was committed because we left the door unlocked. This feeling is also enhanced from others saying we were too lazy to lock our doors, or too careless to protect ourselves.

How did this happen?

Was it from legal pundits representing a favorably high profile individual in our justice system? Did it break down a jury to lessen the charges on that criminal? Maybe during litigation the notion of how the criminal got access to commit the crime surfaced; thus, shifting the blame to the victim would lessen the responsibility of the criminal.

One of the first questions the victims are asked after a crime has been committed is “was your door unlocked?”

What?

How is that relevant to the crime and why should that matter? If the criminal had the intention, that should be the focus and not whether someone left a door unlocked.

This shift of criminal responsibility is a subtle type of victim blaming. The focus is not on the crime itself, but on the victims’ lack of protecting their property and their physical beings.

A way to deter this victim blaming may be to omit all references to the criminal’s access. It should not be relevant if the door was unlocked or if it was pried open.

While it is advised to take added steps to protect yourself and your belongings, you should never feel responsible for the crime. Put the blame where it belongs.