The word victim portrays people as weak, people who were exploited. Yes, anyone who has lived through any type of abuse, sexual, physical, verbal, mental the list goes on were exploited. Yet, they LIVED. The word victim deceives people into thinking there was no strength there. This is why I hate the word victim.
Survivor. Warrior. Fierce. These are the words to be associated with people who have lived through the aforementioned abuses. People can sympathize with these survivors, but they cannot empathize. No one can understand the chilling fear that you can feel in your bones, except for another survivor.
I myself am a survivor of physical, mental, and verbal abuse. There are several women who are close to me who have survived the same abuse as I have, along with others who have survived other types of abuse. Not one of those women considers themselves victims. They all know that they are fierce warriors, survivors. Now I am not saying that survivors are strong immediately, it is a long, hard, heart wrenching road.
The word victim is associated with shame and a sense of embarrassment. We have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. We survivors are proud and we are strong. What we have lived through has given us a strength that is hard to imagine possible. However, we have not allowed that strength to make us hard. Rather we have become empathetic.
Survivors do not want or need sympathy. Please do not pity us. The word victim correlates to sympathy and pity. Another reason I hate the word victim.
Why should survivors of abuse not be able to share their stories? Who decided that women should not be able to hold their heads up high and say I survived, and became even better for it. Especially not to be allowed to help other women know that there is hope?
I was blessed to have someone close to me when I left my abusive relationship, who was also a survivor. I do not know if I would have had the strength without her understanding and her sharing her story of survival with me.
How sad that in this world all of this shame, the stigma is placed with the “victim” and not the abuser. While the person who should be ashamed is the one who was so small and broken, that they had to crush another to feel powerful. That is the person who is weak, not the ones who survive. Hence this is why I hate the word victim.