The Victim Responsibility Quiz
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Politics and Activism

The Victim Responsibility Quiz

How do our views of victims change?

The Victim Responsibility Quiz
Alberto G. / Flickr

This is a sociology experiment our class recently participated in. Answer these questions honestly all the way through.

Scenario 1:

A person leaves for a two-week vacation but never got around to repairing the broken lock on one of the windows. When the person returns, they find that their home was burglarized and that the burglar had entered the home through the window with the broken lock. How responsible is the home owner for getting burglarized?

Scenario 2:

Billy has no school, but his mother tells him to stay home. Instead, Billy steals some money from his mother and goes to the video arcade. At the arcade, he meets two boys, who also see how Billy has money on him. They suggest they all go to the movie theater, but on the way they beat up Billy and steal all the money from him. How responsible is Billy for getting beat up and robbed?

Scenario 3:

Becca has been in a two-year relationship with her boyfriend Rob, but had eventually broken up with him due to him being "emotionally abusive." Over the next six months, Rob continuously called and texted Becca begging her to take him back and confessing his love for her. Finally, Becca decided to meet up with Rob at his apartment to talk. They had a couple glasses of wine, smoked a bit of weed, but Rob became agitated and raped Becca. How responsible is Becca for her rape?

* * *

In all these situations, is one victim more responsible than another for their victimization? Why do we perhaps place blame on certain victims, but not others? How, in focusing on the responsibility of the victim, do we ignore or overlook the actions of the perpetrators?

Most people consider the first two victims to be more at fault for "getting" themselves into positions where they are taken advantage of, but then see Becca as less responsible than the other two for her situation. However, there are still many who see Becca as sharing half of the responsibility for the rape as her rapist, placing much of the blame on the victim. In all scenarios, the main character is placed in a situation that raises their risk of victimization, but does this mean that they themselves are at fault for being attacked? Our tendencies to place blame on victims are often plastic, which is crucial for when we hear about cases of assault and rape.

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