Guilty victim: why does guilt arise in those who are attacked?

Why does society normally change roles where the victim becomes the aggressor and the aggressor becomes the victim? The victim’s sense of guilt is directly proportional to the aggressor’s degree of guilt. But why?

This tendency to blame the victim happens because we often think they did something to deserve what happened to them. Those who blame the victim are usually afraid of being abused and when they blame the victim they feel good because it creates the feeling that the consequences are fair and consistent; at the same time, it conveys the idea that it is up to us to be able to avoid any type of abuse.

This attitude can cause a lot of confusion and pain for the victim and those around them.moreover, it is possible to deflect responsibility from the aggressor.

This same attitude of denying and victimizing the abuser and blaming the victim tells us that someone is immature and can make us even more vulnerable to different types of abuse believing they can be avoided with different attitudes.

    The guilt is compounded

    It is very difficult to accept that “something bad” could happen to an innocent person, someone who did nothing, and the panic arises that it could happen to us at any time and in any circumstance.

    And similarly, those who have already experienced some type of abuse, usually they feel guilty for not preventing the abuse, and they look for a logical explanation as to why they were treated this way, when that trauma is not addressed, they tend to judge the victim first. We tend to blame the victim because we have to explain the reason. On the other hand, we want to excuse the abuser because we are afraid that such a violent person exists.

    These violent people are very difficult to detect, normally they are very charming, and this does not correspond to the behavior of the one who is blamed, since the same aggressor denies any responsibility in the conflict or apologizes saying that he is a victim of the circumstances. In the same way, if we know the aggressor, we are afraid of not being able to detect and prevent his behavior. Or if we detected their behavior and did not warn the victim or if we were their victim. We prefer to blame the victim unconsciously to avoid all these thoughts.

    This feeling of guilt is a means of manipulation that the aggressor has so that the victim does not tell, does not denounce, who remains in silence enduring this abuse. So, together with emotional dependence and guilt, they help the victim to not want to walk away from their abuser and to continue the relationship. The aggressor makes the victim feel guilty, since he conveys the idea that it could not exist without its existence and thus continues to make the victim feel responsible for everything that happened.

    Guilt also arises from the feeling of having allowed what happened, of not having been able to avoid it, reinforcing society’s groundless accusation against the victim.

      How to react ?

      First of all, don’t judge the situation, the reality is that normally situations are not under our control. Victims are terrified and traumatized by the abuse, so looking for an explanation and a culprit can affect the victim even more. Sometimes just listening and supporting is the best we can do, as acquaintances of the victim.

      Provide psychological and legal assistance to the victim, so that a criminal does not go unpunished (we know that normally an aggressor, once the act is done, can do it again several times with several victims or with the same one.)

      If I know the attacker

      In such cases, we basically need to:

      • don’t defend it
      • Notify an authority
      • Get away from him
      • Expose what he did

      If I’m the victim…

      First, you need to know that it’s not your fault. All the fear, shame, helplessness and guilt are part of the abuse; these emotions cloud your thoughts about others. It is very important to report the aggressor so that he does not act any more. The same to assist you psychologically. To surpass oneself and to be able to move forward.

      Accept that it was something out of his hands and he did everything to defend himself at the time; because when you get out of this circle of violence you can realize that there are different solutions, but in this situation or this relationship where you have been abused, the person really does what he has to the extent of his possibilities . Do not fall into “he would have”, and continue.

      The responsibility of the victim is usually ignored because of their pain and suffering. But it must be emphasized that it also gives a certain peace of mind to the victim. It’s a very painful situation and we don’t want to think about it anymore, but ignoring the facts won’t change them. Reporting is very important to prevent them from abusing the victim again and to prevent the abuser from abusing other people.

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