Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rape Victim Vs. Rape Survivor

You here everywhere about rape victims. You hear about them on the news, in the paper, on websites, everyone seems to be a victim. While I am not arguing that people that are raped have been victimized I believe that perhaps the word victim and the connotations that go with it may be a problem. Even I have slipped numerous times and written victim in my posts.

I learned very early on after the rape, that calling myself a victim would not help my mindset. One definition I found for victim was this "an unfortunate person who suffers from some adverse circumstance." While that definition is not inaccurate, imagine if everyday after the rape I thought of myself that way.

The word victim is true, the person was victimized. However, if they are alive they survived. One definition I found for survivor was this "one who lives through affliction." Isn't that a more positive way to view an "unfortunate" circumstance.

The definition and meaning of survivor carries more empowerment then the word victim. That is what a rape survivor needs after such a horrible experience. They need to feel empowered, safe, and in many cases lucky that they lived.

I have always viewed myself as a survivor, if I didn't I may be in ruins right now. I could imagine myself now if I focused on my victimization. I would think the world was against me, that I deserved something from people. I am not saying I don't deserve respect and caring from people, I am saying I could not drown myself in the negative or perhaps I could not get back up.

Of course, I was victimized, but that does not mean I have to see myself as a victim nor does in mean that I have to focus on all the negatives that come with being a victim.

By reframing my thoughts as a survivor I can focus on other things. Things such as I get to see my family and friends still, I get to see another birthday, Christmas, etc. I lived.

What are your opinions on this?



Victoria Placeo

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