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Victim blaming: what person or justice system possessing a modicum of compassion could perpetuate harmful stereotypes and blame crime victims for what happened to them? In effect, this article explores that question. Rephrased, this article attempts to explain the focus on a victim's conduct when it is consistent with long-held principles of criminal law, with relevant comparisons made to tort law. Criminal law often makes a victim's conduct relevant to elements of a claim or defense. The topic is of special importance in an era of devastating attacks on social media and challenging subject matter such as sexual assault and "revenge porn" cases. The examples explored in this article demonstrate the power that victim blaming has in shaping public opinion and how these labels are often misleading. Labels, reporting, and public opinion sometimes distort basic principles of criminal law relating to an offender's culpability. This article seeks to reframe public perceptions about victim blaming by adding context to the question of applicability under criminal law.

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Quinnipiac Law Review



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Criminal Law Commons