25 February 2010

Neglecting the victim

The perpetrator argues that it is the victim own fault that he is subjected to the evil acts. By considering yourself as some kind of avenger and claiming that the rough treatment is the victim own fault, feelings of guilt are replaced by feelings of doing something right or necessary. In cases of domestic violence, a mother may legitimate her violent actions towards her son arguing that he deserved it because he received a low grade at school. Likewise, strategies of dehumanization are usually employed by perpetrators to morally-disengage with their victims. The strategies of dehumanization consist of a progressive process of degradation which ends by removing the victims’ rights and personal features, and any kind of characteristic which could provoke empathy with other human beings on the part of the perpetrator. Torture and killing are often legitimized through dehumanization, e.g. in genocides and wars (Tsang 2002).

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