At its core, victim blaming works to shift the blame from perpetrators of gender-based violence onto their victims. It also implies that somehow, they were at fault for what happened to them. This perverse logic leads to many victims feeling ashamed or unworthy of genuine understanding or justice. As if it isn’t bad enough that victims are being blamed for something they had no control over, this attitude also has profound implications on how cases are decided in court.
Too often, judges fail to understand the dynamics of domestic violence and its effects on the victim. Instead, they will view the case through a lens of moral judgement rather than evidence-based rulings. This results in decisions which may not be adequately founded in fact or evidence as judges tend to focus more on trivial details (such as clothing, drink, drugs, mental health, childhood trauma) than on what he did to her. Furthermore, this form of judgement can lead to decisions which place more emphasis on punishing victims rather than addressing perpetrators’ behaviour.
Another worrying aspect is how little attention this issue receives from policymakers and public figures in Britain today. Without genuine effort being made by those with influence and power within society, it can be difficult if not impossible for victims to receive fair outcomes within the family courts system. It should also be noted that while women may experience higher levels of victim blaming due to ingrained patriarchal attitudes within British society. Trans people and marginalised people are also subjected to such forms of discrimination when dealing with cases involving domestic violence – an issue which is often overlooked or ignored altogether by decision-makers within these courts.
It is our hope that lawmakers and public figures will begin taking meaningful steps towards addressing this problem both through legislation as well as education about domestic violence issues for those working within family courts systems across Britain today. Victims deserve a fair outcome based on evidence rather than judgement based on gender stereotypes; only then can true justice be served in these matters. Until then, it remains up to us – activists , lawyers , survivors – to continue our fight against victim blaming so that future generations do not suffer similar injustices in our court systems.