Sharing – How the ‘Just World’ Belief Supports Victim-Blaming, Scapegoating, and Systemic Abuse

This, we know. Many survivors have experienced it first-hand.

“Believing that the world is ultimately a fair and just place can result in individual and social complacency due to the idea that justice happens on its own, fueled by an actively engaged, ‘fair’ universal force.

The belief in a just world can also result in a lack of compassion for those who struggle within inequitable social, political, and economic systems, including adult survivors of family abuse, the homeless, those struggling with mental health issues or addiction, and victims of rape, police brutality, and other forms of violence. By blaming such people for their own misfortunes, we may protect our view that the world is a fair and safe place while those most in need of our compassion, empathy, and support pay a terrible price.”

This “just-world” fallacy plays out in less obvious ways too, and I think we are seeing quite a lot of that, from trying to explain away COVID19 deaths as hitting just older, weaker, people, to dismissing racism as “a few bad apples”, to justifying violence on any side. There’s always a “reason” that it happened, and, most importantly, that “reason” also explains why it won’t happen to you. Except it could happen to you. There’s actually very little reason to think you are immune to any of it. Someone you know might die from COVID19, at the hands of the police, or in violent protests, just as someone you know was abused as a child, suffers with mental health issues, or was a victim of crime. If you believe any, or all, of these things happen to “other people”, for a reason, you’re just wrong.

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