Blaming the Victim

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”
— John 9 1:3

I wrote about this briefly in last week’s Penguindrum post: Kanba, Himari and Shouma believe they deserve to be punished for their parents’ sins. Himari deserves to get sick and die. It’s a punishment which she earned through the accident of birth. Before, I only mentioned how this idea is nothing new. People have been bigots for over two thousand years. Can’t say I’m surprised.

Roghek wrote a response today to my comments, elaborating on the biblical treatment of inheritance of the parent’s sins.  It helped me to get my own thoughts in order, and made me realize what I had wanted to say before.

The thing is, I made this idea of blaming the children sound like it’s a problem of the past. People in biblical times were jerks who blamed children for being blind. Penguindrum is just a work of fiction: no one would blame Himari in real life. Right?

Wrong. This is just a specific instance of a general problem, “Blaming the Victim.” Instead of compassion, we offer the victim nothing but blame. Himari’s disease is seen as punishment for what her parents have done. But she is really a victim as well. Let’s list some examples of blaming the victim from current events. My examples mainly come from American politics, since that’s what I’m most familiar with, but they are in no way limited to Americans.

Obviously, this list is by no means exhaustive. I wrote it in ten minutes and it seems to cover half of what’s in the news already.

My hope is that the next time you see an instance of “Blaming the Victim” you’ll realize it. Be slow to judgement and quick to compassion.

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2 thoughts on “Blaming the Victim

  1. You’re making a really good point here. Even though logic would say a victim is someone who lost his right somehow, many people from many societies tend to put the blame on him to be a victim. If someone does a crime, somehow the whole family is shunned by society, or community. Even in countries that have laws to avoid these things from happening, societies have yet to learn to open up and stop judging, accusing and looking down on others for being pitiful (in their view).

    I think that it is one of the themes of MPD, this whole idea of taking on someone else’s sins, and anything bad that happens to somebody is punishment. I wonder how this connects to Momoka, who takes peoples “pains” from them, how is that different from taking their “sins”?

    1. Indeed, Momoka has been changing fate to take away people’s “punishment”, or so it seems. At the moment, I’m seeing Sanetoshi as the Goddess in Shouma’s story, inflicting a cruel and whimsical punishment, and Momoka as his opponent.

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