Debate Guide: Blame game

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Teenage sexual assault victims on the eve of their day in court

An argument can be made that the scapegoating of MAPs and sex offenders allows for deeper social and intrafamilial problems to be ignored, as blame can be easily ascribed with the full approval of authorities.

At the societal level

See - Research: Commercial and online sexual exploitation.

The UK is a good example of societal blame attribution with respect to adolescent girls from working class communities engaging in street prostitution to pay for drug habits. A scapegoat class; in the press "Asian Men", i.e. Pakistani clients, are identified and uniformly described as "rapists", ignoring the social consequences of poor parenting and multi-generational drug abuse that led to these transactions taking place.

At the personal/family level

Consider a court trial we were informed about in the 00s:

A man has been accused of having sexual relations with teenage boys for cash and cigarettes. The boys who engaged in low-level sexual acts with the older man concerned, have violent parents who have raised them in a dirty, abusive environment. In reality, the parents have lost all faith in their children who are growing up with almost identical antisocial tendencies as their own.

The parents have to project a better image of themselves in court; it's a matter of pride. So what do they do? The parents have been given an opportunity to ascribe blame for the consequences of their abusive and neglectful parenting. They have been given the opportunity to be the "good people", and just for a day, their delinquent children are the victims - and most certainly under great pressure to act as such.

Knowing this, how exactly would we expect the boys to behave in court?