Victim abuse occurs when a victim’s account of their abuse is not believed. It has surfaced in recent times because historically rape victims were not believed. It is slowly being applied to domestic abuse where abused persons have been forced to leave their domestic home because they are not believed to be victims. However, it is much wider than this.
It occurs in the workplace and the business environment. Whistleblowers know to their cost that their credibility is called in question and they are the first victims of any process to expose institutional wrong-doing, as the institution closes ranks to protect its reputation. Caiaphas said of his plan to crucify Jesus that it was expedient that one man should die rather than the whole nation perish at the hands of the Romans Jn 11:50 and Jn 18:14. Jesus was the scapegoat. This is how ungodly human nature reacts. The institution must be protected and the individual will be sacrificed. Individuals will find it difficult to expose wrong-doing in large institutions such as the NHS, political parties, or whatever. The public image is more important than the individual.
It happens when a business closes ranks to protect itself when a customer complains about the service he has received. Some successful businesses in the retail sector save themselves much trouble and maintain their customer loyalty by simply refunding or exchanging goods with which the customer is not satisfied.
Others, however, especially if it involves labour instead of the simple sale of goods, are more reluctant to believe the dissatisfied customer because labour cannot be simply refunded. The customer will be put through a grilling, possibly to find an inconsistency in what they are saying but with the aim of finding an excuse. For example, if the trouble is squealing car brakes, then the reason will be because of dust if it is hot weather, or the frost if it is cold weather, or the number of miles driven if one is an above-average mileage driver, but also if one is a below-average mileage driver! There may even be hints at one’s driving style, all with the implication that the customer is at fault rather than believe him – victim abuse. Meanwhile the customer’s time is taken up with trying to prove his point to an unbelieving customer care representative, to weary the customer in their pursuit of a remedy.
This is the price paid for living in a society more interested in lies than the truth. The truth suffers because there are so many lies smothering it. The person telling the truth is not believed because people are so familiar with hearing lies. The victim is not believed and victim abuse is added to the original injustice. Insult is added to injury, because failure to believe someone is forming a judgment that they are not telling the truth.
Jesus Christ said: ‘If I say the truth, why do you not believe Me?’ John 8:46.
In an era when people do not understand belief, being misled by aggressive atheists and false religion, it may be more practical and informative to demonstrate the effects of its opposite – unbelief can exacerbate victim abuse. This might encourage people to study belief and unbelief more rigorously than the puerile public discussion currently served up in discussion programmes.
This article was not suggested by the HimToo article, which I have just discovered while searching for victim abuse on the internet. It is, however, a timely and serendipitous discovery.
Jesus suffered extreme spiritual, psychological, mental, sexual and physical abuse for telling the truth. One commentator said: “Jesus was an innocent man, tortured and violated by imperial powers. One possible danger of too fast a tying of this to #MeToo is to diminish the power of the cross to speak to many forms of violation by aligning it too closely to just one.” There is truth in this, but it fails to address a mistake in what a criminologist has said: ‘Using Jesus Christ in this way is farcical. There is a tendency in society to discuss almost everything as a form of abuse, to try and attach the label of victim and victimhood to more and more things and people. But this is ahistorical and odd.’ It may be ahistorical, but it is not odd if one understands the relationship between unbelief and victim abuse.