Male and female subjects rated female victims of misfortune after observing videotapes of the victims detailing their injuries to doctors. Contrary to predictions of just wortd theory, subjects derogated culpable victims more than innocent victims. When observers identified with the victim, through political ties, derogation was reduced. It was concluded that responses to victims are described by a balance theory framework in which the observer's relationships to the victim and the victimizing agent determine whether (s)he will react to victims with sympathy or derogation. It was further concluded that these relationships can be predicted from an understanding of the social and political context shared by the perceiver and the victim.