The just-world phenomenon is the tendency people have to blame the victim. We believe that the world is just, so when something bad happens to someone, we tend to believe it was somehow their fault. People get what they deserve.
I had an experience just the other day with this. There is a super accident prone girl from my home ward and she posted a picture of her latest accident. I have no idea what happened to her, but she’ll be in a boot for the next two months and be on crutches. She posted a picture of her foot and how bad it looks on facebook, and without even thinking about it, I thought to myself, well she was probably doing something dumb that got her into trouble. She was probably just being her clumsy self and that’s why she was injured.
Good thing I had just read my textbook and recognized this automatic tendency I had. I had no idea what happened to this girl, but I automatically thought that somehow it was because of something she had done, somehow it was her fault. It very well might not have been her fault, but I was very confident in my assumption. This illustrates the just-world phenomenon that allows people to think that the world is just. This phenomenon allows us to protect ourselves. We console ourselves and think that if we don’t do those things that cause accidents, we will be safe. It was an instant and automatic response for me and I’m sure it happens all of the time. It’s something that I need to be aware of so that I don’t place blame on the victim for being hurt because that isn’t always the case.