Fighting the stigma of survivor blaming is a two-front war: internally and externally. The most obvious to fight are the people outside of ourselves - those who might think that we "asked for" our abuse, or feel we deserved to be abused because we weren't "vigilant enough". Sometimes, we can even encounter people who simply don't believe that what we went through was abuse, and the blaming becomes an accusation that our insistence that it was abuse is the cause of our suffering rather than the abuse itself.
Internally, though, we also struggle against what is basic human nature: If we can believe that the abuse was our fault, then it means there's something we can do to stop any and all abuse from happening in our future. This is not to say that we make the conscious choice to blame ourselves, quite the opposite - it is in our instincts to blame ourselves in order to make our world feel safer.
This internal instinct is especially hard to battle because so much of the outside world also tells us that the abuse we've experienced was our fault. Maybe they think we shouldn't have argued, or that we should have dressed more conservatively, or should have acted stronger or more quickly to the environment. When you have all that outside support for those internal critics, it can be very hard to break free from the cycle of survivor blaming.
One of the best ways for us to combat survivor blaming is to acknowledge from where it comes. By being able to listen to both the internal and external blamers and think to yourself "I am being blamed because it makes them think the world has less abusers - but I know the world is dangerous even for the best-prepared people" you are acknowledging both the instinctual origins of the behaviour and acknowledging that you know the instinct is incorrect.
This week's questions are:
- Have you experienced survivor blaming?
- What external survivor blaming have you experienced?
- What internal survivor blaming have you experienced?
My answers will contain triggers, so I'll put them in the comments again this week