Does a person bear some of the responsibility for his or her victimization if the person maintains a lifestyle that contributes to the chances of becoming a crime victim? In other words, should we “blame the victim?”

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This is a pretty complicated question that requires nuance and critical thinking to address. I would address this question by starting to think about:

1. how people are often attacked because of hate-based attacks such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, classism, ableism, anti-homeless sentiment, anti-immigrant sentiment, etc, and should never be blamed for the oppressive realities of the state and dominant society,

2. how states set up systems of courts and police that create an illusion of safety for some and active oppression for others—often for the same people who endure hate-based attacks—and how relying on cops and courts does not create safety, and

3. how states tend to discourage people from defending themselves, and instead, encourage calling the police who do not, according to the Supreme Court, have any duty to intervene in a violent situation, and who are responsible in multiple instances for actively harming the person who called for help.

Groups such as the Black Panther Party and Queer Bash Back groups have actively turned to teaching themselves and each other self and group defense in order to protect themselves from vigilante and state-violence. These groups, then, do not seek to rely on the very systems that contribute to their oppression and keep each other safe. These frameworks of safety recognize that not only do police tend to not keep people safe or actually intervene in violent situations, but that they are often the very people inflicting violence, and therefore, oppressed people and people who seek true freedom must rely on themselves and each other for safety. These frameworks do not "victim blame", however, but encourage a framework shift away from state-based narratives of safety.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 11, 2020
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