Blaming Men Hurts

More often than not when we talk about things such as sexual assault, rape, human trafficking, domestic violence, etc. we talk about the statistics. And the statistics show that women are a majority of the victims and men are more seen as the perpetrator. Although this is true to some extent, blaming men isn’t always accurate and causes a lot of damage.

When we start to blame men for these acts of violence one thing that results is man hating. According to Urban Dictionary a man hater is “A person, usually female, who despises, hates, and loathes the entire male population for no valid reason.” This is the gross generalization of men as being the reason these things happen. When the statistics show that 1 in 4 women are raped and you see they are mostly by men, it is easy to make men the target.

In addition, if we blame men for this then we neglect that they are victims too. Although 1 in 4 women are rapped 1 in 9 men are. That is still too large of a number. And although about 80% of human trafficking victims are women there’s still that 20% who are male. When we blame men we generalize, and that generalization is poisonous, because all victims have suffered and it’s no one’s right to lessen that for an individual.

Lastly, and I would say most importantly, when we blame men for the reason these things happen, we lose focus on why it really happen. If men are generally the perpetrators, can we not look past their sex and look at the societal issues that caused this? The violence that men are exposed to and the societal norms saying they should not openly express their feelings. How can this not do damage to someone?

But also it is important to remember that men are silenced. If they speak up about violence committed against them, whether it be physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or human trafficking, it is seen as weakness. Many men don’t voice what has happened to them in fear of being looked down upon and seen as inferior. When we place the blame on men we also add to the reason some male victims are not speaking up.

Blaming men isn’t the solution, and it has many repercussions. Join the fight against violence, not the fight against people. The only thing here to blame are our social constructs, law, and norms that allow and perpetuate these things to happen.  

Continued Exploitation

            It’s important to understand how exploitation doesn’t end when a human trafficking victim gets out of their circumstances. It doesn’t end when they stop having to give sex to 30 people a day, or when they don’t work for 20 hours a day with no pay. Exploitation can always continue, after they are free. But that begs the question of are they ever?

            The past is in the past is an expression we like to use saying that when something is done, it’s done. There is nothing left to bring up or remind us of.  However, can we say the same for human trafficking? When we discussed pornography we also discussed this. We talked about how often times pimps use the internet as a form of control over their victims, hanging the fear of everyone seeing them on the internet over their heads. They can never escape it, it never goes away. This is only one example of continued exploitation.

            In social media we post pictures, articles, blogs, and more about human trafficking victims. Although we often have good intentions on bringing awareness to the issue using pictures and names makes it difficult on victims. With constant attention or accessibility to their information it’s hard for them to escape what was supposed to stay in the past. I shouldn’t be able to search someone’s name and see that they were trafficked unless they put that information out themselves, or allowed for someone else too.

            In addition, in the case of pornography, like I mentioned before, many victims can’t escape this reality with their pictures all over the internet. Their pictures should be able to be deleted.  It is their body and their right. This is one dangerous thing about pornography in general. Many watch it thinking that these people willing put their pictures/videos on the internet for their own reasons; however, as we have seen, that is not the case. For some it may be, but for too many it is not. By limiting the porn industries power over that you can prevent the re-exploitation of victims, but that requires not watching it, looking at it, or buying it.

            At the end of the day, being trafficked causes a lot of emotional and mental obstacles. By keeping their faces, bodies, and names on the internet, you are taking away their ability to move on and to heal. On a small scale, it is like when you have a break up. You block that person because it hurts you and holds you back from healing. Although that is a gross simplification, it’s a relateable example that shows us that we should be mindful of these experiences, and keep their personal information off the public’s view.  

What Do We DO About It?

We have discussed a lot about human trafficking victims and what some of their experiences are like. We talked about laws to help these people, and discussed who the traffickers are. But one thing we haven’t talked about yet is what we do for victims of human trafficking once they are out? What does our society have set in place to help victims recover and become connected with themselves and the rest of the world again?

I am proud to say that the United States actually has a lot of different resources provided from several different forms of government. I will say that I was somewhat shocked, but pleased, to find this out. That being said I am going to discuss a few different programs that the United States provides to help victims post trafficking.

Post trafficking victims face a lot of challenges. “Victims of human trafficking may suffer from anxiety, panic disorder, major depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders as well as a combination of these.  For some victims, the trauma induced by someone they once trusted results in pervasive mistrust of others and their motives.  This impact of trauma can make the job of first responders and those trying to help victims difficult at best. “(ASPE) In addition, some victims have so much trauma that they end up having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For those that struggle with PTSD, the characterizing symptoms include intrusive re-experiencing of the trauma (e.g., flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts), avoidance or numbing of trauma-related, or trauma-triggering, stimuli (e.g. avoiding certain places, people, and situations), and hyper arousal (e.g., heightened startle response, and inability to concentrate).” (ASPE) If this is left untreated it can become chronic or debilitating.  

This is why it is important to have governmental treatment plans that are offered all over the country for these people. The U.S Committee for Refugees and Immigrants provides a National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program. “Trafficking survivors require numerous types of emergency and long-term services. USCRI provides comprehensive, trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate case management services and supports through a network of providers in 28 states, the District of Columbia, three American territories, and three Freely Associated States (Compact Nations).” They provide extensive services not only to the victims, but also to their families.

Another way that the United States helps victims is through the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance (OVA). “OVA oversees the work of victim specialists located throughout our 56 field offices.” “These specialists—experienced in crisis intervention, social services, and victim assistance—work closely with agents to ensure that potential victims of trafficking are rescued, transferred to safe locations, and provided with referrals for medical, mental health, housing, legal, and other necessary services. “ OVA is a great resource that helps victims find help in many places for different aspects of their experiences or trauma.

All in all, the United States provides a great deal of services. However, how many people are these offered to? And how many victims know about these? And do these services cost anything from the victim’s pocket? These are important questions to ask, however, having programs to begin with is a good step in the right direction.

 

http://www.refugees.org/our-work/human-trafficking/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013/january/targeting-human-traffickers-helping-victims

https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/treating-hidden-wounds-trauma-treatment-and-mental-health-recovery-victims-human-trafficking

USA improvements in child sex trafficking industry

 

            Hello again. I am so sorry I haven’t been blogging recently. I had some technical difficulties this past week or so. However, now I am back at it talking about some real world issues!

            Previously we discussed the issue of human trafficking in the US and the implementation of new laws to reduce this occurring crime. Now I want to discuss the overall improvements in different states and how that has helped out entire nation. We talk a lot about the issue and its global impact, and specifically its impact at home in Charlotte NC, however; it’s important to also talk about how states are fighting this, because we are in fact fighting this! That’s pretty awesome.

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            The main reference for this post will be an article in Huffington Post called “US States are Getting Better at Combating Child Sex Trafficking. I am attaching the link below as always, but this will be the main source of examples and information.

            A great accomplishment that starts out this article is one that I believe we need to take time to actually applaud ourselves and our country. It isn’t often that we take the time to do this, but in this case we should. In 2011 26 out of 50 states received failing grades on the country’s first assessment of the nation’s response to its youngest victims. Thus so far this year, no states have received a failing grade and at least half the nation has received a B or greater. That’s awesome!

            Now what states are doing the most to end child sex trafficking? There are 10 major ones and those will be what I discuss today. Those states are (in least to greatest in action) Florida, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, Montana, Washington, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Of all of these I am going to talk about a few of them and their efforts in law and community action.

            Iowa and Texas are very similar in execution, however have a different effectiveness rate. Iowa has a rating of an 87.5 of 100. Their idea is that many buyers whom buy sex from children/minors remain faceless and nameless, and generally aren’t arrested. This is very common for a lot of offenders in many different areas of the US and the world. Iowa now is working to combat this by labeling anyone who seeks or solicits sex/sexual acts from minors as a class “C” felony. The punishments for this is a prison sentence up to 10 years and fines up to $10,000. Similarly, Texas, with a rating of 90.5, cracks down on child prostitution by classifying the crime as a second degree felony. If someone elicits sex from a child under 18, regardless of being aware of their age, there is a sentence from 5-99 years in prison and fines up to $100,000.

Photo by Piotr Krześlak/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Piotr Krześlak/iStock / Getty Images

            Montana is one of the highest as well with Texas, reaching a rating of 90.5. A remarkable thing about Montana is that they brought their rating up from a “D” to an “A” in a year! They also did this by increasing their punishment. “Montana doesn’t allow offenders to claim they believed the child was an adult as a defense.” In addition, the punishment is 100 years in prison, fines up to $50,000, and a sexual offender treatment program must be completed.

             Although it is sad that these laws have to become stricter in order to reduce child sex trafficking, it is important to recognize our growth and progress. So I encourage you, as always, to review the source below. It’s not much reading, but it’s important to recognize our accomplishments.

Photo by Piotr Krześlak/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Piotr Krześlak/iStock / Getty Images

 

Resources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/us-child-sex-trafficking_56438e0ee4b060377347596b?utm_hp_ref=impact&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000054

                

Pornography and Sex Trafficking

 

            We are going to hit on a hot topic today and that is porn. To be honest porn is a huge industry now. Kids, teenagers, adults, couples, and more watch it/look at it. It is a $13 million dollar industry that thrives in the homes of many. What people don’t realize is the effects of viewing porn, not just on a personal level but on a much larger scale. Who really ever thinks of what they might be contributing to in the world buy watching something many feel as so harmless?

            There are three main things that I will be talking about today in why pornography plays a role in sex trafficking. One way that this is true is traffickers often times use porn as a means of psychological control.  Think about all the scandals in the news of celebrities’ nudes getting “leaked”. Those pictures are forever on the internet. You could probably search someone’s name from years and years ago and you would find their naked bodies on the internet. Now think of people who were forced into this, who didn’t want this for their lives. Often times a person’s trafficker will use them for porn then use this idea to their advantage. They threaten them and use it as blackmail. Their bodies and faces were now on the global internet, they can never escape their present no matter how much it becomes the past. This is something that many victims lock into their minds.

            Another important thing to note is the financial gain. Again this business is a $13 million business. Many girls are forced into this industry as a way to receive financial gain. They can make money by putting girls into prostitution and also porn, and the younger the girls the better and the more money received. This is a huge market where traffickers will use video footage of the girls and their pictures as way to attract buyers. This is one of many ways that the commercial sex industry is a lucrative business that continues to grow.

            Lastly, pornography is a form of sex trafficking in and of itself. It’s important to realize this. The people involved in porn have very similar if not identical experiences to those who are trafficked. Not only that, but “a recent report that held Interviews with 854 women in prostitution in nine countries…made it clear that pornography is integral to prostitution. In every country, almost half of the respondents said that they were forced to make pornography while enslaved in sex trafficking.”

            While not all women/men involved in pornography are forced and trafficked, there are far too many who are. By watching, buying, and looking at porn you can be contributing much more to a bigger problem than you think. It is a perpetual reinforcement to the commercial sex industry where a majority of sex trafficking victims reside. Think about this. That every time someone turns on the porn, flips a page, searches a name, etc they are enslaving these people more than the second before. 

Resources: http://humantraffickingsearch.net/wp/the-connection-between-sex-trafficking-and-pornography/

Education, Awareness, Activism, and the Community

            Now we are going to wrap up the week’s series on prevention. We have discussed the importance of education and awareness. How awareness is an extension of our newly found education, and how activism is the important action of that awareness and education.  Now up to this point we have only discussed the responsibility of prevention in regards to the individual, but now we are going to make an important shift unto the community.

            Although every individual is responsible for prevention, and can make a huge impact, the community as a whole is what really finalizes and enforces the change that wants/needs to be seen.  No matter if every individual is practicing prevention, it will do nothing if these individuals aren’t unified under one cause. That being said community is a broad concept with many layers. It is defined as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.In this case I would like to talk about this and the roles within a community.

            Within the community they’re a few key roles. A few of these are: businesses, students, law enforcement, and health providers. These people are vital to the community and are key components of education, awareness, and activism inside a community. They are people with power who move a community forward and push for growth and involvement. On the issue of human trafficking prevention, there are a few things that each of these groups can do, in order to increase human trafficking prevention.

            Business is one of the largest and fastest growing fields. Students are constantly declaring majors in business and entrepreneurs are becoming more and more common. As businesses thrive, their influence in a community grows. One of the ways they can use this influence in their community is by providing opportunities. Some examples are, providing internships, job skills training, and making jobs available to trafficking survivors (U.S Dept. of State). In addition, community consumers are also important. Try making purchases from companies that sell items made by trafficking survivors, or goods where the profit goes towards anti-human trafficking efforts (U.S Dept. of State). Some examples would be Jewel Girls or Made by Survivors.  

            Law enforcement is also very important. Officials in the community should consider starting a local human trafficking force, or holding educational panels about human trafficking (U.S Dept. of State). If your law enforcement teams doesn’t have any programs focusing on human trafficking, maybe start a group within the community and bring this to attention. Also, attorneys are an important part of law enforcement and play a hefty role in human trafficking violations. It’s important that attorneys stay alert and look for signs of human trafficking among clients, and possibly offer legal benefits to human trafficking victims (U.S Dept. of State).

            Another important player in the community are health providers. These people are some people’s ticket to life and recovery. A couple things that they can do to help prevent or deal with human trafficking issues is by providing low-cost (or free) services to human trafficking victims assisted by anti-human trafficking organizations, as well as train your staff on the indicators of human trafficking in order to better assist victims (U.S Dept. of State).

            Lastly, and I feel most importantly are the students. Students have a unique and powerful outlet in their communities. They are capable of doing great things. Therefore, take actions on your campuses and within your communities. Join or create a club to raise awareness. Maybe write a paper focusing on human trafficking issues to help educate peers and professors. Students are the future, and it’s important to be engaged in your community now.

            Communities are important constructs of life. They are facets of society that are vital to progress and support. If everyone did something in their part of the community, in order to help prevent human trafficking, maybe I wouldn’t be writing this blog. If every person tried actively to make a difference and band together under one community, the problems that weigh down on our hearts may be relieved and resolved. I challenge you to be a part of this movement of change. To actively eliminate the struggles around us and end the pain. It stars with 1 and ends with a community. 

 

Resources:

ttp://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/

 

Impact of Activism

          The last section to my series on prevention is on activism. Too often than not people cringe at the sound of this word….activism. Images that come to mind are protests, strikes, and petitions. Although these are very important, and have their place in the world of activism, most of the activism that people do, or are engaged in, is through volunteering and donating. Let’s be honest. We are busy and overwhelmed. We all have responsibilities and obligations, and at the end of the day the things that aren’t the most important to us get swept under the rug. The problem is we do this so often and forget that it’s the little things that really matter. They’re the things that add up and make the difference. So I want to remind you of the little ways to be an activist for a moment.

            Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! It’s easy and fun. Get your family involved, your church, your girlfriends/guyfriends anyone. People make the difference. They make the impact. IF you don’t know where to start, “volunteer to do victim outreach or offer your professional services to a local anti-trafficking organization.” (U.S Dept. of State) It is a great way to get involved in an important issue. Another useful way to help out is by “organizing a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.” (U.S Dept. of State) Since most of human trafficking organizations are nonprofit it is important to have the funds to sustain themselves and continue to raise awareness and make a difference in the world. You can be a part of that change.

            On that note another great way to be an activist is to be a financial supporter. If you don’t have the time, maybe you have the money. By donating money to foundations and organizations you can help provide the funds to create volunteer opportunities and community outreach programs. Although you yourself may not be able to volunteer, donations can move mountains. They can provide needed goods to people in need, resources for future programs and education, and most importantly keep an organization alive.
 

            Volunteering and donating are easy steps to take in the right direction. Activism is vital in all movements for change. If you’re not the not the type of person who wants or is able to be at the protests and rallies, never forget that you’re local, or maybe national, support is the stepping stone to growth. If you are looking for an organization to volunteer or donate to All We Want is LOVE is always welcoming activists to be on our team in the fight against human trafficking. If you are interested you can donate through our page or volunteer with us to get a hands on experience. If you have any questions or desire to get involved contact us through our page!

 

Resources:

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/
 



An Extension of Education

            In my last blog we talked a lot about the importance of education. Education truly is knowledge in everything that you do. However; there is something that might be more important than that, and that is awareness. You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you are not aware of your surroundings, other people, the world, and yourself, then education is useless. This is a key factor in the prevention of human trafficking simply because awareness is an extension of education. It is the action performed as a result of acquired education.

That being said, something that is a good idea to do, yet is simplistic in style, is to discover your slavery footprint. According the U.S Department of State, this is realizing what you consume and where/who it comes from. Every day we use, wear, and buy things made in factories around the world. And those factories are filled with people illegally forced into labor, or abused people from their employers. An easy way to avoid companies that use forced labor is by checking out the Department of Labor’s List of Good’s Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (U.S Dept. of State). Although many are educated on the issues of forced labor, or poor labor conditions used in countries by many large corporations, they may not be aware of the situations around them and how they affect the outcomes. Thus, it is important to not only be aware, but make others aware. In addition, keep companies reliable. “Encourage companies, including your own, to take steps to investigate and eliminate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains and to publish the information for consumer awareness.” (U.S Dept. of State) 

            Also if your aware help others increase their awareness. “Distribute public awareness materials available from the Department of Health and Human Services, or Department of Homeland Security (U.S Dept. of State). Utilizing these resources will increase your credibility, and help prevent future trafficking incidents. In addition, get involved in your community. “Host an awareness event to watch and discuss a recent human trafficking documentary.” (U.S Dept. of State) This can do wonders for people’s education and awareness, as well as expand your knowledge.

Check out this facebook page to see what partents are doing about human trafficking needing to be taught in schools. https://www.facebook.com/groups/172002459566656/

Check out this facebook page to see what partents are doing about human trafficking needing to be taught in schools. https://www.facebook.com/groups/172002459566656/

            Lastly, something that is important to consider are future generations. Human trafficking is a rising problem and they need to be aware of this global crime. Especially when children are affected in such high numbers. A great way to help bring kids an education and an awareness of this is by talking with their school board. “See if you can get the ideas of modern day slavery in their curriculum.” (U.S Dept. of State) Slavery is a huge topic in schools ranging from elementary school following through college, yet modern day slavery is often left out. By helping school systems realize the human trafficking target set on their schools, they may see the importance in educating their students about it.

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            All in all, the reason why this is important is because one person can’t change the world. They can only start the change. There has never been one person who started and sustained a global movement or change by themselves. People are worthless without people. We can’t change the way our society thinks or acts with one person doing this alone. It’s vital to the movement to share your knowledge and awareness with others, so they too can pass it on. Because like it or not, you are now a part of a global movement.

 

Resources:]

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/


 

 


Knowledge is POWER!

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          Human trafficking is global. We have talked stats, numbers, and reality. It’s an overwhelming problem in the United States and in the world. That’s a lot to take one. So how can I, you, and everyone else possibly make a difference? It’s really easy to feel consumed by the daunting reality of tragic global dilemmas. Things like drugs, abuse, rape, slavery, and so on, aren’t easy to solve and they are very gray issues, especially in the political world.

            One of the most important ways to prevent/reduce human trafficking is through education. This sometimes seems a little bland to us. It’s missing the flavor of action of busting down doors, partaking in an arrest, and impersonating a pimp in order to rescue people. However, I would say that this is one of the most vital and valuable parts of prevention. Educate yourself on the signs of human trafficking. Look for the signs of runaway children and bring them to help before they can be targeted. Be aware of people at gas stations, airports, hotels, and other crowded areas for transportation; these are the places where humans are often exchanged.

 In addition there are some common red flags to be aware of. A few examples are people living with their employer, living in poor living conditions, incapability of speaking with someone one-on-one, showing signs of abuse, is unpaid or paid very little, and is 18 and involved in prostitution (U.S Dept. of State).  Familiarize yourself with these and use these as tools to help prevent human trafficking, or help someone in a trafficking situation.

However, that being said it is important to know that you aren’t a professional. There are people who are trained to handle these types of situations. Police officers, law enforcers, federal government employees, and psychologists are thoroughly educated on how to handle these delicate and dangerous circumstances (U.S Dept. of State). Therefore, it is important to be the hero in a different way than many of us want to be. It is imperative that when you see something you think may be human trafficking, that you report it immediately. If it wasn’t for the bystander, the professionals wouldn’t be able to do much.

That being said. There are a few resources that are important to make a change. One of the easiest/most convenient resources is by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at        1-888-373-7888 (U.S Dept. of State). This is a resource is available 24/7 where you are able to speak to a service provider in your area about a potential human trafficking case (U.S Dept. of State). Also, you can call this number and speak to a technical assistant for more information. In addition, you can call the Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-347-2423 (24/7), or submit a tip online at www.ice.gov/tips. Plus even immigrants are eligible for government help.

The list can go on and on, and I actually will continue on this for my next blog. Education is power, and this is only one facet of that power. That is the entirety of these blogs, it’s to educate. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know much or was misled in your information, embrace this as a learning opportunity to become a super hero, because by being educated you can help so many people.

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Resources:

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/

 

Why Victim Blame

          When talking about human trafficking unfortunately there is a victim and there is a perpetrator. Human trafficking is a crime; therefore, it is dealt with in a criminal manner where ideally a victim should see some punishment towards their perpetrator. However, there is one big problem in this and that is the idea of victim blaming.

            Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially responsible for the harm that befell them. The study of victimology seeks to mitigate the perception of victims as responsible. As a result the wrongdoers, the criminals, the offenders, are often seen as being part of something that was inevitable. As if being sold, bought, used, enslaved, raped, abused, and more is a self-fulled prophecy.

            This is often seen in cases of sex trafficking. As I have discussed in prior blogs, many prostitutes are found as runaway children. The average age of entry into prostitution is 12 or 13 for girls and boys. This is not something that people chose for themselves; however, there is a strong stigma attached with prostitution that allows people to victim blame. When you watch movies, read the news, read a book, prostitutes are portrayed as grown women choosing a life of a sex worker in order to earn money.

Although this may be the case for a few people, many are approached, forced, or coerced into it (trafficked). Once someone is forced into this sex slavery, many are forced into drug addictions. Many are forced to take drugs or drink alcohol, to have sex or to perform sexual acts without consent as well (DARA).  “Drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are commonly used to make a person become an addict and force them to do the work the traffickers want them to do” (DARA).  If a person if forced into prostitution and drug abuse, many need to stay involved in prostitution as a way to sustain their newly created drug dependency.

 As you can see these men, women, and children are not willing choosing this life. However, the courts and juries continue to place the blame on the victim. Why is this the case?

Well according to Dr. Juliana Breines, victim blaming can occur in array of misfortunes such as; bullying, rape, sexual assault, hazing, poverty, and cases of mental/physical illness. Her theory is that the reason victim blaming occurs is due to vulnerability. She claims that “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.” I think that this holds a lot of truth in it.

She further comments on the theory of Dr. Melvin Lener. He points out “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.” He syas that people want to believe that justice will come to wrongdoers and good people will be rewarded for doing the right things in life.

I think that many of us can agree that this is flawed thinking, but it’s also common thinking. Victims are very often blamed for the misfortunes that happen to them and this not only hurts them, but our whole societal thinking. What kind of world do we live in where the person who is put through unspeakable pain is to be at fault to what was inflicted upon them?

My Resources: 

http://alcoholrehab.com/drug-addiction/sexual-exploitation-and-substance-abuse/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-love-and-war/201311/why-do-we-blame-victims