In the news and blaming the victim

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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RagDollSallyUT
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In the news and blaming the victim

Post by RagDollSallyUT » 14 Sep 2014, 12:09

AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!

I can't understand what is wrong with all of these judgmental haters and I don't know how to handle this! Something happened last week to my daughter and it's on the news. Only a very vague statement was made to the media because we need the public's help to get more witnesses to come forward. The whole case details can't and shouldn't be disclosed. Many people are being supportive and wonderful. And way too many are forming their own opinions and conclusions without having even the basic facts. They are calling my daughter a liar, or a delinquent, and or calling me a bad mom.

The perpetrators victimized her once. Now these know-it-alls are victimizing us again with their hate. I am so angry I don't know what to do with myself. I logically know that these people will be this way and it's their own issue and broken insides that make them that way and there is nothing I can do to change it and shouldn't try. I logically know I shouldn't even listen to any of it. How do I process this on an emotional level though?

Please someone tell me how to process this... how can they abuse us, many in the name of God.... (yes Utah religious zealots and their judgments are all over this) and still think they are good people? How come with when presented the choice of being part of a problem or part of a solution they can in good conscious choose to stand on the side of evil and hate? And still get temple recommends and think they are the righteous ones??? How can people take a basic outline of a story without any details at all and feel their super magic know-it-all powers can be so awesome that they know more than two police departments, 2 families and two victims and the additional witnesses... and still call themselves educated, smart, decent human beings???

I don't think I need to put specifics behind this--- you can take my words and apply it to any number of cases over the years and the idea applies. I am screaming here because I can't scream anywhere else to anyone else and I don't know what to do with this. Does anyone have any coping strategies that they have used to deal with impossible unreasonable know-it-alls, judge-it-alls? How do I trust people again? I never wanted to know the vast multitudes of people who are emotionally stunted and broken. I need more hope in humanity. I need to believe in good people. Not the step-counters who put on a show to be good. The real meek, humble good people-- how can I find more of them? How do I trust again?
Attacked by Christmas Toys? That's strange. That's the second complaint we've had!-Nightmare Before Christmas
We're gonna need a bigger boat.-Jaws
If we are to be saved in an ark, as Noah and his family were, it will be because we build it.-Brigham Young

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Haven
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Re: In the news and blaming the victim

Post by Haven » 14 Sep 2014, 13:13

I am so sorry to hear that you and your daughter are going through such a difficult time. Unfortunately it's not uncommon for victims to be blamed. It sounds like there has been a lot of trauma and I guess I would suggest working through this with a compassionate counselor. This is something that will be very difficult to work through without professional help. I'm so sorry

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RagDollSallyUT
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Location: Utah

Re: In the news and blaming the victim

Post by RagDollSallyUT » 14 Sep 2014, 16:25

Totally agreed. Trauma counseling vital. But no kidding I am getting crap like, "that's why our prophet teaches against sleepovers!" And "well if you would just teach your kids obedience." Really? There is a Mormon element to this. How do I handle the self righteous?
Attacked by Christmas Toys? That's strange. That's the second complaint we've had!-Nightmare Before Christmas
We're gonna need a bigger boat.-Jaws
If we are to be saved in an ark, as Noah and his family were, it will be because we build it.-Brigham Young

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MockingJay
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Re: In the news and blaming the victim

Post by MockingJay » 15 Sep 2014, 05:30

My best advice is to continue to love and support your daughter, as you are obviously doing, and surround yourself with friends and family who are loving and supportive. As hard as it is to do, you have to shut out the ignorant haters and judgers. I know it's so hard to do, bu you have to. Ignore them, and soon they'll find someone else to traumatize, because that's what they do.

I would also try to take breaks from this crisis from time to time and do something totally unrelated that's fun, uplifting, or creative. One time when our family was going through a difficult crisis, we went away for the weekend to a family member's beach house. It was just a small little place, and we were all packed in there, but we had so much fun that it renewed us to go home to face our situation. I know it can't make what's happening go away, but it can remind you that's there's more to life.

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SilentDawning
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Re: In the news and blaming the victim

Post by SilentDawning » 15 Sep 2014, 06:48

Focus on putting pressure on the immediate problem in a way that benefits YOU.

I do understand the anger one feels, and in my case, the desire to sometimes strike back at the people who have hurt me.

Let me give an example.

I recently launched a free program to the community. I had to sign up people on the program -- it was free, and benefited them with no risk, and only 2 minutes of their time to enroll. All paid for by sponsors. So many of these people were RUDE and dismissive when I approached them. It made me so disturbed that people who use volunteers this way, when we were trying to help them.

At one point, i directed my creativity toward the worst offender and hatched a plan to make them regret they didn't enroll. It would have been effective. At the same time, it would have done nothing productive in the long run. So, as much as I loved the idea and the creativity behind it, it chose to visit a potential sponsor with the time I would have invested in "punishing" this rude person. I walked away with sponsorship money, as well as huge support for our program in operational ways I could not achieve on my own.

So, you need to feed the channel that leads to better peace for your daughter, and your family, and try to starve the channel that judges, hurts you, acts in unChristlike ways etcetera. I know its hard, but in the end you, end up with more good in your life, and more peace. I have to admit, coming home from that sponsorship visit energized me for my cause, provided the capacity for me to do even greater good, and blessed my life.

So, I would try to adapt that to this situation where possible. There is probably a lot to do emotionally and physically with this problem that you have. I would focus energies on solving it.

Disclaimer: This post in no way is meant to minimize the absolute crass nature of judgmental people who make assumptions. I feel for you, and have experienced it myself.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Porter
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Re: In the news and blaming the victim

Post by Porter » 15 Sep 2014, 08:03

I can relate to how you feel.

In 1974 my cousin disppeared. A week before his execution in 1989 Ted Bundy claimed he killed her. The body was ever found. I cannot begin to describe how this ripped our family apart. Her mother became mentally unstable and sometimes believes her daughter ran away and is still alive somewhere. She still searches for her on the streets of big cities. My father knows another mother of a Bundy victim, now over 85 years old and she is extremely looney.

Many good people stepped forward to try and find my cousin and to help in many ways. But there were the evil, self-righteous ones you describe, in and out of the church, who blamed her father or her brothers or even her mother. Or alleged she was a slut/drug addict who ran away.

In another disturbing case, of JonBenet Ramsey, the confusion was so severe that it exceeded the capacity of the police to deal with it and they never did figure out who murdered this little girl. As outsiders we will never know or be able to sort out the facts. (Maybe it really was her mother).

What my parent's generaton did to cope:

First, they imagined what their ancestors would do. Find the guilty swiftly. Take matters into their own hands. Torture and kill them. Make them pay. Frontier justice.

Then they would carefully plan out what they intended to do. For example, another cousin in a motorcycle gang was promised a large sum of money to find and take care of the person responsible for the disappearance ofour cousin. (He was perfectly willing to do it for free). Other less rational plans were hatched.

Then (this is critifcal) at some point REASON has to prevail. You have to figure out and do the sensible things.

Get the right help. Don't bear these burdens alone.

Put away the recurring violent fantasies and ignore the naysayers who are not helpful.This is the most difficult step and it can be a process which goes on for years and years.

After about 20 to 40 years (or sooner in some cases) comes forgiveness. It is not something you just choose, or force or fake. It comes from God as a blessing. But don't think about that now. It is probably too soon. Focus on doing the sensible and reasonable things, blocking out the extraneous and unhelpful.

Another fascinating case is that of Elizabeth Smart. I don't think her family did everything exactly right. Mistakes were made. And they were lucky that the Mitchell freak who kidnapped their daughter didn't kill her, as often happens. But in so many ways they did the right things. It helped in finding her. What is astonishing to me is how good her recovery has been. She was a strong, devastating witness against him in court and is an example of hope and courage to everyone who has suffered anything like what she endured. Her final revenge is living well while her tormentor rots in prison, waiting on a delusioal version of God to rescue him.

Roy
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Re: In the news and blaming the victim

Post by Roy » 15 Sep 2014, 13:33

I am so sorry for your terrible experiences.

I believe that people tend to blame the victim because it makes them feel better - more secure.

It helps us to believe that if we are smart/wise enough then we can avoid a similar fate for ourselves or our families.

In the church this can take an extra harsh edge because instead of simply trying to avoid the mistakes of others - we sometimes believe that the misfortune of others must be in some way deserved. As though their lack of valiance invited callamity and more allegience/dilligence to the church would have staved it off.

In some ways this is what caused my faith crisis. I thought that being a worthy priesthood holder would entitle me to a semi-charmed life. I am sure that I too was judgmental (at least in my own head) in order to protect my illusion of security.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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RagDollSallyUT
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Re: In the news and blaming the victim

Post by RagDollSallyUT » 15 Sep 2014, 14:43

Good thoughts. I am sorting it out and thinking that as well. As a normal person might want to think they are safe because they taught their kids to never sneak out at night (as did I) the church member might also think they are protected because they count their steps and check the boxes. It's still hard not to be angry but I am working on letting it go. I guess they just are not currently capable of that kind of growth and there is no pushing that.
Attacked by Christmas Toys? That's strange. That's the second complaint we've had!-Nightmare Before Christmas
We're gonna need a bigger boat.-Jaws
If we are to be saved in an ark, as Noah and his family were, it will be because we build it.-Brigham Young

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Forgotten_Charity
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Re: In the news and blaming the victim

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 15 Sep 2014, 14:50

I'm sorry ragdollsallyut. Excellent comment Roy. Spot on. Here is the gist of believing in a just moral world. It keeps us from having to fear and face reality, from having to face the difficult challenge of empathy.
Why Do We Blame Victims?
By Juliana Breines, Ph.D. on November 24, 2013 - 8:26pm
In October, Jonathan Martin, a football player on the Miami Dolphins, left the team due to mistreatment from teammates, which included receiving threatening phone messages from another player. The incident has raised concerns about hazing within the NFL, but it has also prompted some to suggest that Martin himself bears at least partial responsibility for his fate. For example, another NFL player stated in an interview that Martin is "just as much to blame because he allowed it to happen" and should have behaved like a man. Others have argued that Martin was oversensitive and made himself an easy target.

This sort of victim blaming is not unique to bullying cases. It can be seen when rape victims' sexual histories are dissected, when people living in poverty are viewed as lazy and unmotivated, when those suffering from mental or physical illness are presumed to have invited disease through poor lifestyle choices. There are cases where victims may indeed hold some responsibility for their misfortunate, but all too often this responsibility is overblown and other factors are discounted. Why are we so eager to blame victims, even when we have seemingly nothing to gain?

Victim blaming is not just about avoiding culpability—it's also about avoiding vulnerability. The more innocent a victim, the more threatening they are. Victims threaten our sense that the world is a safe and moral place, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. When bad things happen to good people, it implies that no one is safe, that no matter how good we are, we too could be vulnerable. The idea that misfortune can be random, striking anyone at any time, is a terrifying thought, and yet we are faced every day with evidence that it may be true.


In the 1960s, social psychologist Dr. Melvin Lerner conducted a famous serious of studies in which he found that when participants observed another person receiving electric shocks and were unable to intervene, they began to derogate the victims. The more unfair and severe the suffering appeared to be, the greater the derogation. Follow up studies found that a similar phenomenon occurs when people evaluate victims of car accidents, rape, domestic violence, illness, and poverty. Research conducted by Dr. Ronnie Janoff-Bulman suggests that victims sometimes even derogate themselves, locating the cause of their suffering in their own behavior, but not in their enduring characteristics, in an effort to make negative events seem more controllable and therefore more avoidable in the future.

Lerner theorized that these victim blaming tendencies are rooted in the belief in a just world, a world where actions have predictable consequences and people can control what happens to them. It is captured in common phrases like "what goes around comes around" and "you reap what you sow." We want to believe that justice will come to wrongdoers, whereas good, honest people who follow the rules will be rewarded. Research has found, not surprisingly, that people who believe that the world is a just place are happier and less depressed. But this happiness may come at a cost—it may reduce our empathy for those who are suffering, and we may even contribute to their suffering by increasing stigmatization.

So is the only alternative to belief in a just world a sense of helplessness and depression? Not at all. People can believe that the world is full of injustice but also believe that they are capable of making the world a more just place through their own actions. One way to help make the world a better place to fight the impulse to rationalize others' suffering, and to recognize that it could have just as soon been us in their shoes. This recognition can be unsettling, but it may also be the only way that we can truly open our hearts to others' suffering and help them feel supported and less alone. What the world may lack in justice we can at least try to make up for in compassion.
I prayers and thoughts go with you and your daughter. The last paragraph is really what we can do(each of us) to help prevent it.

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RagDollSallyUT
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Location: Utah

Re: In the news and blaming the victim

Post by RagDollSallyUT » 15 Sep 2014, 18:31

Awesome article! Thanks!
Attacked by Christmas Toys? That's strange. That's the second complaint we've had!-Nightmare Before Christmas
We're gonna need a bigger boat.-Jaws
If we are to be saved in an ark, as Noah and his family were, it will be because we build it.-Brigham Young

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