THE PSYCHOLOGY OF VICTIM-BLAMING

“When people want to believe that the world is just, and that bad things won’t happen to them, empathy can suffer.“

By: Kayleigh Roberts,
Published: Oct 5th, 2016. (http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/10/the-psychology-of-victim-blaming/502661/)
Level of difficulty: Upper-Intermediate
Questions Prepared by Gözde SIZAN

FAMILIARIZE WITH THE TOPIC
Pre-Story: Telling the Story of the Standford Rape Case by Marina Koren http://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/06/stanford-sexual-assault-letters/485837/
• WMNews: Stanford Sexual Assault Case (9 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uLA8nj4iz4

WATCH AND TAKE NOTESPrezi: Victim Blaming & Myths by Sarahlee Grouchy https://prezi.com/aqcemyfxd1ob/victim-blaming-and-myths/QUESTIONS
1) Why does Metzger criticize women who were victims of crimes?
2) What does “his recent actions” refer to in this phrase: “He is my friend and a great writer and I couldn’t be more against his recent actions.”?
3) Read the two related paragraphs of the text and complete the following statement about victim-blaming in general terms: Victim-blaming comes in forms of
a. rape crimes
b. sexual assault
c. carrying your wallet in your back pocket
d. wearing a miniskirt in public
e. hearing about a crime and thinking you would have been more careful if you had been in the victim’s shoes
f. all of the above
g. none of the above
h. other: please specify
4) We understand from the text that some individuals’ experiences / cognitive abilities / backgrounds / native languages / culture / make them significantly less likely to victim-blame. Mark as many as necessary.
5) Why don’t people realize that they are victim-blaming?
6) Hamby thinks that the biggest factor that promotes victim-blaming is _______________ and this idea argues that _________________________________________________________________.
7) According to Hamby, this desire to see the world as just and fair may be even stronger among Americans because ______________________________________________________________ and ___________________________________________________________________________.
8) We understand from the text that in order to feel safe themselves, people _________________ _____________________________________________________________________________..
9) While people tend to be able to accept natural disasters as certain /unavoidable / inescapable / inevitable / necessary, many feel that they have little or more control over whether they become victims of crimes and that they can take precautions /measures / insurances that will protect them. Circle as many as necessary.
10) How do even the most well-intentioned people sometimes contribute to victim-blaming?
11) People who exhibit stronger __________________ tend to favor protecting a group or the interests of a team as a whole, whereas people who exhibit stronger ________________ are more focused on fairness and preventing harm to an individual.
12) Mark as many as possible. People who exhibit individualizing values
a. tend to favor protecting a group
b. are more likely to be sympathetic to victims
c. are more likely to see victims as blameworthy
d. are more less likely to assign responsibility to for the crime to the victim
13) If the news about the crimes reported in the media focuses on the victim’s experience and story, ______________________________________________________________________________. 14) Why is it hard for people to reconcile themselves with the fact that someone they know could commit a crime?
15) After reading the text, we acknowledge that bad things sometimes happen to good people and _____________________________________________________________________________.

WRITING ACTIVITY
Write an essay in which you discuss whether the world is a just place or not. Before you do so, watch the following videos to choose your side.
• The World Is Just Awesome (Boom De Yada) Song by Discovery (1 min) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at_f98qOGY0
• “Just World Hypothesis” – Social Psychology (8 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhSwFdDB–s

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF VICTIM-BLAMING – Key
1) He criticizes women for not going to the police.
2) It refers to Mertzger’s now-deleted Facebook post. (I know because women said it ad that’s all I need! ALL women are as reliable as my bible! A book that, much like a woman, is incapable of lying!)
3) all of the above
4) experiences, backgrounds and culture
5) Because not everyone who engages in victim-blaming explicitly accuses someone of failing to prevent what happened to them.
6) Just-world hypothesis / people deserve what happens to them
7) They are raised in a culture that promotes the American Dream and the idea that we all control our own destinies.
8) People blame victims
9) unavoidable, inescapable, inevitable / precautions, measures
10) Like the therapists who work in prevention programs where women are given recommendations about how to be careful and avoid becoming the victim of a crime.
11) binding values / individualizing values
12) b and d
13) it might increase the likelihood of victim-blaming
14) Because it is so horrifying to think that their own brother or person that they know could be a rapist.
15) Seemingly normal people sometimes do bad things or the world is not a just place.

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