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Measuring Victimhood: Developing a Victim Self-Ascription Scale
Unformatted Document Text:  DRAFT – For permission to cite contact Andy Davies on ## email not listed ## project' in a place 'where she could not possibly be blamed for being' (Loseke, 1999:77; Christie, 1986:19). The ‘victim’ who is beaten up during a drug deal which went wrong, it seems, deserves everything he or she gets. I therefore argue that an additional criterion for the belief one has been victimized will be the understanding that the event itself was, for some reason, undeserved by the victim. Victimization outcomes: hypothetical relationships The combination of the elements described above is expected to lead to the perception that one has endured a victimization event, and so to lead to feelings of victimhood. Feelings of victimhood are themselves also difficult to define, however. Victimhood may express itself in a wide variety of ways. Three were assessed in this study, namely: feelings of anger, the self-ascription of novel rights and entitlements, and the willingness to describe oneself using the word ‘victim.’ Anger First, experiences identified as victimizations should result in feelings of anger. Though anger is only one possible emotional reaction to unpleasant experiences, it is the one most commonly said to be associated with the features argued here to be characteristic of 'victimizations'. Lazarus, for example, has suggested that the strength of angry responses to stress is associated with external attributions of the cause of the stress – suggesting that victimizations, as externally attributed events, should result in feelings of anger (Lazarus, 1998: 359). Regarding injustice, Weiner (2006) has pointed to evidence that anger is stronger in cases where a perpetrator is seen as having acted deliberately and culpably, suggesting that the perception of injustice increases these feelings (Weiner, 2006: 35). I therefore hypothesize that where measures of perceived victimization are high, anger at the event in question will Page 7

Authors: Davies, Andrew.
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DRAFT – For permission to cite contact Andy Davies on ## email not listed ##
project' in a place 'where she could not possibly be blamed for being' (Loseke, 1999:77; Christie, 
1986:19).  The ‘victim’ who is beaten up during a drug deal which went wrong, it seems, deserves 
everything he or she gets.  I therefore argue that an additional criterion for the belief one has been 
victimized will be the understanding that the event itself was, for some reason, undeserved by the 
victim. 
Victimization outcomes: hypothetical relationships
The combination of the elements described above is expected to lead to the perception that one has 
endured a victimization event, and so to lead to feelings of victimhood.  Feelings of victimhood are 
themselves also difficult to define, however.  Victimhood may express itself in a wide variety of ways. 
Three were assessed in this study, namely: feelings of anger, the self-ascription of novel rights and 
entitlements, and the willingness to describe oneself using the word ‘victim.’
 
Anger
First, experiences identified as victimizations should result in feelings of anger.  Though anger is only 
one possible emotional reaction to unpleasant experiences, it is the one most commonly said to be 
associated with the features argued here to be characteristic of 'victimizations'.  Lazarus, for example, 
has suggested that the strength of angry responses to stress is associated with external attributions of 
the cause of the stress – suggesting that victimizations, as externally attributed events, should result in 
feelings of anger (Lazarus, 1998: 359).  Regarding injustice, Weiner (2006) has pointed to evidence 
that anger is stronger in cases where a perpetrator is seen as having acted deliberately and culpably, 
suggesting that the perception of injustice increases these feelings (Weiner, 2006: 35).  I therefore 
hypothesize that where measures of perceived victimization are high, anger at the event in question will 
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