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The Victimization of WomenLaw, Policies, and Politics$
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Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199765102

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199765102.001.0001

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Drawing the Contours of Victim Dilemmas

Drawing the Contours of Victim Dilemmas

(p.15) 2 Drawing the Contours of Victim Dilemmas
The Victimization of Women

Michelle L. Meloy

Susan L. Miller

Oxford University Press

Victims were the forgotten piece of the criminal act, largely ignored by the police and prosecutors unless they were viewed as valuable tools in the apprehension or prosecution of offenders. This trivialization led victims to become more reluctant to seek help from the criminal justice system or participate in criminal proceedings. The 1960s and especially the 1970s saw a growing recognition that victims were erased or denigrated by representatives of the criminal justice system, which ignited a national victims' rights movement to create more balance between crime victims' needs and offenders' rights. This chapter traces the different images of victims and discusses how these images relate to our understandings of victimization and victim blaming. It explores the competing ideological positions about the status and reality of victims and victims' issues and the ensuing victim backlash that occurred after the “successes” of the contemporary victims' rights movement. It also discusses the commodification of victimhood, victim culture, victim culturists/social commentators versus “radical” feminists, and victim empowerment.

Keywords:   crime victims, criminal justice, victims' rights movement, offenders, victimization, victim blaming, victimhood, victim culture, victim empowerment, radical feminists

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