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Posts Tagged ‘victims’

Survivor or victim?

Words are important.

When a person is abused and victimized, their life is shattered. There are lifelong effects of the abuse. The person can remain a victim in their eyes and in the eyes of others, always feeling “less than” because of the actions of another.

OR

They can survive the abuse. Surviving involves moving past the abuse and living a full life in spite of it. Surviving means being the person you were meant to be before the abuse; in fact, being a better person because of it. Surviving means taking your past and incorporating it into your life to become stronger and, often, to help others get past the victim stage and to the survival stage.

I guess that makes me a survivor. I wasn’t always comfortable with that title but now I am. I’ve picked up the pieces. I’ve learned more about abuse. I am trying to help others become aware of abuse. I’m trying to help others that have been in my position.

It’s a tough thing to write about. You have to experience it to understand but if that means you have to be abused, then I would rather you did not understand because I don’t wish abuse, of any sort, on anyone.

For more posts on abuse, click here.

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Surely there are laws to protect children from abuse and neglect. Surely there are laws to protect against domestic violence. Why do the numbers of abuse victims continue to rise? Why don’t the laws deter abuse?

Well, think about it. In the United States, the legal justice system assumes that all accused are innocent until proven guilty. Who is going to prove them guilty? How will they be proven guilty? The accusers have the burden of proof of guilt. And they will prove the guilt by telling their story over and over and over again, many times to those who don’t believe them. So the same people that have been victimized once will have to tell their story until they are either believed or not. They will be questioned over and over again. They will be made to feel as if they are the guilty ones. They will be victimized once again, this time by the legal system; all to protect the legal rights of the abusers. Even the very young will have to be questioned. And when the case goes to court, the victims will have to testify in front of the same person that victimized them in order protect the accused constitutional right to face their accuser. The victim will have to face the person that hurt them; that betrayed them; that committed horrible crimes against them. There is something wrong with that.

Yes. There are laws against child abuse and child neglect. There are laws against domestic violence. But there are also laws to protect their abusers and in our legal system, the rights of the accused seem to trump the rights of the victim.

My 2016 A to Z Challenge Posts

Abuse

Because

Child Abuse

Dad

Elder Abuse

Families & Domestic Violence

Gloria

Hush

Ignoring

Jasmine

Killers

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Statistics tell us that many instances of abuse go unreported. We also know that the more people talk about abuse, the more power we give to victims and potential victims. To keep it hush-hush is to empower the abuser.

Why do victims keep abuse secret? The reasons are as wide and varied as the types of abuses. They also vary depending on the age of the victim.

“What will people think?”

“They are going to blame me; they will say it’s all my fault.”

“If I tell they will hate me.”

“If I tell, they won’t believe me.”

“He said if I told, he would hurt my family.”

“He said if I told, he would say that I made it up. They’ll believe him.”

“It was all my fault. I shouldn’t have been alone with him.”

“It’s all my fault. I trusted him.”

“If I tell, he’ll go to jail and I won’t have anyone to support me. I’ll be homeless.”

“If I tell, he’ll go to jail and the kids will miss him.”

“If I tell, they’ll send him away and everyone will blame me.”

Women who are beaten often say it was their fault, not the batterer’s. They make excuses. They weren’t hit. They fell down the stairs. They slipped in the bathtub. It was her fault; she picked a fight. It was her fault; she didn’t have dinner ready. It was her fault; she didn’t keep the kids quiet.

When their partner is jailed for domestic violence, women will often run around trying to come up with bail money; they borrow without telling what the money is for; they make excuses for their partner’s absence (they’re away on a business trip; they are away on family business). They are desperate to get their lives back to “normal” even though that normal will, most likely, mean a return to the violent behavior. They want to forget about it. They want things back the way they were. Maybe after the last incident it won’t happen again.

The reasons are varied. It takes a long, long time for victims to come forth. Some never do.

By keeping quiet about it, victims give their abusers power. By speaking up and telling what has happened to them, victims gain the power.

My 2016 A to Z Challenge posts:

Abuse

Because

Child Abuse

Dad

Elder Abuse

Families & Domestic Violence

Gloria

Links:

Many Who Are Sexually Abused Keep Quiet (NPR, excellent)

Victims May Keep Abuse Secret For Years

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