Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Blaming the Victim
William S. Davidson & Eyitayo Onifade
Victim blaming is the act of attributing fault, in whole or in part, to a person or group damaged by a social or physical context or situation. It can include those hurt in an accident; victims of crime, mental illness, poverty, or nonfunctional education; and those with “undesirable” physical or cognitive characteristics. Victim blaming can be an inherent side effect of societal and professional remediation, treatment, or both. The act of blaming the victim rests on the belief that individuals are at least partially responsible for safeguarding themselves against foreseeable threats and dangers; therefore, from this perspective, individuals who fail to protect themselves are at least partly responsible for their status. This premise operates as the basis for many social attitudes, practices, and policies regarding culpability in several spheres. For instance, home buyers are expected to inspect prospective properties for structural damages and weaknesses before finalizing purchases. If a home ...