Abusive Relationships and Domestic Violence

What is secondary victimization?


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Secondary victimization occurs when the societal response to a victimizing stigma is more disabling than the primary stigmatic condition itself. This may include the treatment by society of victims of rape, disability, mental disorder, or other social stigma. The consequences may also extend further degrees, e.g. to tertiary victimization and quaternary victimization.

ex. A victim of rape (primary victimization) may be subjected to victim blaming and ostracism as the result of the attack; those who become disabled (primary victimization) may be subjected to non-accommodation, medicalization, and segregation; and those who develop mental disorder (primary victimization) may be subject to institutionalization, that in each case may be far more victimizing to these individuals and limiting of their life opportunity than the primary victimizing stigmatic condition itself, and are thus called secondary victimization. Tertiary victimizations would include the victimizing consequence of secondary victimizations, e.g. results of victim blaming, ostracism, non-accommodation, medicalization, segregation, and institutionalization, etc. by society.