As is the case with many psychological phenomena, our understanding of the difficulties in functioning experienced by individuals who endured ongoing childhood abuse shifts dramatically, depending on the level of analysis we assume. The most basic perspective is to view survivors, whether of child abuse, combat, or other forms of trauma, solely in terms of the problems they present. The variety and intensity of symptoms and difficulties in interpersonal and adaptive functioning manifested by many survivors, when observed independent of any surrounding context, can strain the bounds of credulity and empathy. To a greater degree in the past, but even in the present day, survivors may be seen as fabricating or exaggerating their symptoms, indulging in self-pitying bids for attention, or attempting to manipulate others to escape responsibilities that they are presumed to be entirely capable of handling. This viewpoint is typified by the phenomenon that has commonly come to be referred to as "blaming the victim" (Ryan, 1971 )-discrediting victims by attributing negative characteristics and motives to them. This process has probably occurred in every type of interpersonal trauma to which people have been subjected. It is illustrated by accusing soldiers with "shell shock" of being cowards and returning them to the front as soon as possible (Herman, 1992a), by insisting that women victims of rape enjoy being sexually assaulted (Brownmiller, 1975; Chesler, 1998), and by branding accident or crime victims who attempt to obtain compensation for their injuries as opportunistic malingerers (see, e.g., Gasquoine, 1998; Uzzell, 1999).