DARVO (an acronym for “deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender”) is a reaction that perpetrators of wrongdoing, such as sexual offenders may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. Some researchers indicate that it is a common manipulation strategy of psychological abusers.
As the acronym suggests, the common steps involved are:
DARVO – Wikipedia
- The abuser denies the abuse ever took place
- When confronted with evidence, the abuser then attacks the person that was abused (and/or the person’s family and/or friends) for attempting to hold the abuser accountable for their actions, and finally
- The abuser claims that they are actually the victim in the situation, thus reversing the positions of victim and offender. It often involves not just playing the victim but also victim blaming.
DARVO is institutionalized in the systems neurodivergent and disabled people must navigate.