There is one type of victim that rarely gets blamed and that is the ‘ideal victim.’ Examples of ideal victims include young children as well as adults who were victimized by strangers while engaging in morally non-questionable behavior. Those who have relationships with their victimizers are more likely to be victim-blamed, as well as those whose decisions might be questioned by others. For example, a woman who is date-raped might be blamed for choosing to go on a date with that man. In reality, no woman who agrees to go on a date agrees to unwanted sex. It is contradictory on it’s face: if sex is unwanted, there is obviously no agreement. The agreement to one thing does not generalize to agreement to be victimized.
Furthermore, actions that some might feel are morally questionable prior to the victimization tend to knock a victim out of the ideal victim category. Examples include going to a bar, wearing provocative clothes, entering the hotel room of the victimizer, taking drugs, walking alone late at night, getting drunk, attending a college party, joining a group that turns out to be a cult, working at a strip club, being in a relationship with an unsavory partner, etc. Even if a person makes a poor decision leading up to the victimizing event, punishment by victimizing is never justified.
When a victim is not an ‘ideal victim,’ it is more difficult for others to show them compassion and for law enforcement to want to take their cases. This needs to change. No one who is victimized ‘asked for it.’ Let’s be especially sensitive to those who are not ideal victims because victim-blaming then is inappropriate and cruel.