After a lifetime of shame from others, and shame I feel towards myself as a result…. plus the levels of victim shaming I see throughout society, within the medical/mental health field, even within the mental health/ abuse survivor advocacy field, and within religion…..becoming very anti-victim shame/blame, is a growing passion of mine.
Just a few of the shaming tactics I see used…
1. The epidemic of victim blaming… suggesting victims of abuse have done something to lead to the abuse, and are therefore responsible – taking the responsibility away from the abuser. This shames the victims and causes further trauma.
2. The ‘don’t be a victim’ slogan/attitude…. which is victim shaming in itself…. widely used within the mental health field. It makes people struggling feel worthless and not want to reach out. They suffer in silence as a result. It leads to more suicides.
3. The continual drive to say all victims of abuse with mental health issues, can recover in full. Not all mental health can be recovered from, or completely healed. And to insist everyone can recover places unrealistic expectations and demands, that cannot be attained…. making those who cannot recover, feel worse.
4. The toxic drive to force victims of abuse to forgive their abusers, and have compassion for their abusers. That is no-one else’s call to make, other than the victim. No-one ‘has’ to forgive severe intentional abuse. Plus, those who then consider themselves ‘better’ and more moral for their insistence that forgiveness is compulsory…. shaming victims who choose not to forgive, in the process. Forgiveness, is not compulsory.
5. All the many toxic religious abuse behaviours/attitudes, of which there are so many. Church people notoriously treat victims of abuse badly.
6. Comparing people’s journey’s and suggesting that just because another person healed a certain way, everyone should. No two journey’s can be compared and should not be compared. Comparing leads to shaming.
7. The continual invalidation of severe prolonged abuse and severe child abuse, due to being compared to less traumatic abuse. Which shames and invalidates those who have suffered in far greater ways.
8. The continual minimizing, excusing, rationalising and justifying of abusers and abuse, re-traumatising victims and invalidating their suffering and the truth of what occurred.
9. The continual drive to see the word ‘victim’ as something shameful. There is no shame in being a victim of abuse, just as there is no shame in being the victim of any other crime. Yet being a victim of abuse, has stigma attached to it. Which is so shaming to the victims.
10. The continual lack of empathy and compassion shown to victims/survivors of abuse…. which is widespread. Mostly because people do not want to deal with other people’s suffering, so they choose to invalidate it instead.