Realize… many, many bad people are bad because they respond to facing adversity – real or perceived – by trying to forcibly transfer it to some unwilling, innocent person, a scapegoat, instead of using their strengths or confronting their weaknesses in order to overcome it.
People who, citing their own victim experiences, blame targets of unproved allegations and demand retribution against them without evidence, are an example. They’re trying to transfer their suffering at the hands of their perps to the accused, regardless of guilt or innocence.
“If you don’t condemn this unrelated scapegoat who only has ‘being accused’ in common with my perp, you’re telling me my victimization doesn’t matter!”
It’s a completely irrational statement.
Your victim experience has nothing to do with the validity of anyone else’s accusation.
Blame-shifters like that aren’t scoring a point for victims everywhere, or striking back against a dominating patriarchy, or even defending a fellow victim against the possibility of a perp getting away with a crime. They’re just using the situation for their own purposes.
Your perpetrator’s guilt doesn’t make all who are accused guilty.
Your pain doesn’t validate all accusers.
Your target isn’t responsible for your experience, or the attitude or actions of your attacker.
You are using your target as a surrogate rage sink.
It’s about power.
It’s fueled by instinct, too. When we as a society have greater compassion for any group, those we see as vulnerable or victimized, there’s open sympathy toward scapegoating others with some unrelated, immutable characteristic in common with that group’s tormentors.
It’s instinctive, yes… but also misguided. Having some unrelated, immutable characteristic in common with a wrongdoer doesn’t confer guilt upon anyone, and making an innocent into a scapegoat in no way addresses that original wrongdoing.
It just creates another victim.
Meanwhile, the victims of the original wrongdoing gain nothing of value from this. They’re not un-victimized. It doesn’t protect potential victims of future wrongdoing. It’s not even closure because this isn’t the person who hurt them.
And it’s damaging to their character.
We’re told rape is about power and domination, targeting all women. When you use your social power to contravene an innocent man’s refusal to be the chosen sacrifice – his life & family destroyed – for some female victims’ collective rage against all men, how are you any better?
A person who willfully tries to force the suffering from his/her adverse experiences onto an unwilling, innocent substitute is bad regardless of the nature of that experience.
Sympathy for the devil isn’t redemption.
Our civilization can’t evolve without understanding this.
Latest posts by Hannah Wallen (see all)
- Men are teachers #InternationalMensDay | HBR Talk 110 - November 21, 2019
- It’s not international whine about men day | HBR Talk 109 - November 14, 2019
- Getting lippy about Movember | HBR Talk 108 - November 7, 2019