The dilemmas of victim positioning


  • Dorte Marie Søndergaard Department of Education at Aarhus University, Denmark



This article centres on some of the dilemmas contained within victim positioning. Such dilemmas are often overlooked by the authorities involved with people subjected to relational aggression. 2 For example, when teachers rule out cases of bullying because the victim has ‘participated in’ or ‘laughed at’ some of the bullies’ initiatives, or when a rape victim’s status as a victim is questioned because, in the lead up to the assault, she was supposedly friendly to the rapist. In these cases, it could be useful to explore the reason for the bullying victim’s apparent collusion or to better understand the premises for the rape victim’s positioning options in relation to the perpetrator. In other words, it could be fruitful to explore the dynamics and dilemmas of the victim position. In this article, I aim to reflect on the motivational conditions of the victim phenomenon. These reflections are based on an analysis of qualitative data produced through interviews with school children as well as on relevant secondary literature.


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