This began as a comment in a friend’s locked post. I’ve edited it a bit since this is public, but there’s something that has been on my mind since the flood of “No Pity, No Shame, No Silence” entries.
As a child, I was a victim of abuse.
I’m not a victim now. I am a survivor.
I am 100% behind the refusing to be shamed into silence.
There’s a difference, however, between refusing to be silenced and buying into the Victim Culture.
Being a victim means staying “stuck,” letting the abuser ruin your life, and giving up all of your power.
The recovery industry has reasons to promote Victim Culture. That’s how they pay for their Hummers and BMWs, so they have a stake in the results. If you buy their books and watch them on talk shows and so on, that’s even better!
While there are a few good people out there who don’t do this, most of the professionals I encountered during my own journey do believe in the Victim. If anything really bad has happened, you’re damaged forever. Your primary identity is Victim. You’re supposed to do group and individual therapy and 12-step groups and so on, forever and ever. Tossing in a few of those incredibly expensive long weekend or week-long conferences is good, too.
Of course, since the Victim has given away all of her power, she tries to follow the professional’s advice. And there she is, all her energy going into something that should just be one step of her journey to wholeness.
It’s important to speak up and refuse to be shamed. There are too many people out there who feel too much shame to speak up. Those posts helped some of them talk about their experiences for the first time. Acknowledging what happened is an important step in healing. It’s only the first step, but it’s a damned big one.
It’s only the first step.
You have to get to another big one: Survivors do not allow what happened to them to define their lives. They take what good they can from the experience, and they go on about their lives.
It isn’t the last step. I don’t know that there is a last step. The healing process is cyclical. It keeps getting better, though.
There are some people who get a lot of mileage out of victimhood. I have no time or patience for them. They’re generally drama queens in every sense of the word (not just women, of course), and it’s just one more way to get attention. They detract from the real tragedies, the true issues at hand. They just want that energy focused on them, and they’ll say anything to get it.
Yes, I’ve been sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally abused in my life. I don’t permit it now. I won’t permit anyone to do it to anyone else if there’s some way for me to prevent it.
I’m not a victim anymore.