A lot of deniers are simply playing a sick, sociopathic game

(Drawing copyright Aaron Maeda)

Denier behavior occurs at many levels and in many situations.

There are those who deny that the Holocaust ever happened, claiming that millions of souls never perished at the hands of the Nazis.

Those are those who deny that innocent children were gunned down at Sandy Hook, claiming that the victims’ parents are participating in a big ruse.

As we are witnessing at this very moment in America, there are those who deny the realities of sexual assault, claiming that the victims are making it all up.

In my own work, I see those who deny that people can be bullied out of their jobs and livelihoods, claiming that the targets (not the aggressors) were the problems, or chalking it up to “personality differences.”

Truth is, I think that many of these deniers don’t actually believe what they’re saying. They know what’s going on.

However, they wish to perpetuate vast power differentials and dismiss suffering, abuse, and injustice by claiming that nothing happened.

For some, it provides a sort of sick, sociopathic satisfaction in watching victims, survivors, their loved ones, and bystanders experience even more anguish when their realities are denied and even mocked. It’s a next-level form of abuse.

5 responses

  1. Besides the denier, through my experience, the perpetrator, gets rewarded and gets promoted to a higher position.
    There is so much cover up in the workplace when it comes to sexual assault. As for as them saying it is a personality conflict, they are so wrong. I do not want to pat myself on the back, but I get along with everyone and do not like conflict or drama but that did not stop the workplace violence targeted towards me as a way to silence me.
    I believe in what comes around goes around.

  2. Some deniers legitimately can’t believe that the social space they inhabit could contain the bad behaviours that it does, and others recognize the very real risks of witnessing (or even acknowledging) ugly truths that threaten the status quo. It’s not just power that intimidates, but fear of disrupting the status quo…because that naturally leads to change.

    Change is hard, even for those it benefits. The unknown frightens us- even as it promises improvement.

  3. Many deniers believe in the concept of a just world where everyone gets what they deserve. They think the target provoked the behavior somehow, is getting their karma from a previous wrongdoing, or is being tested as in the Book of Job.

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