I am a victim;
I was a victim;
I am victimized;
I was victimized;
All of the above.

Victim – another word that some are trying to distort and weaponize. Similarly to the way ‘pity’ has somehow become a negative thing, ’empathy’ a weakness and ‘greed’ virtuous.

I was a victim because I was assaulted- more than once, actually. In those cases I was victimized. Perhaps I thought myself ‘weak’ or ‘unworthy’. My attackers thought so. But it’s not about my mental state; even if I had the ability, training and will to beat back an attack, I was a victim because it happened. It is a matter of fact, regardless of my (or anyone’s) perception of me at the time.

I am a victim. I am subject to official, political, systemic practises that target me. Based on my current income, my sexual identity, or any number of other demographic factors. Again, these are matters of fact. What is actually happening to me (and others) at this time.

Regardless of whether I ‘wallow in my victimhood’, attempt to ignore or deny the facts, or face it head on, I am being victimized. How I react and move forward might well change- I don’t lose my power or sense of identity by being, factually, a victim. I lose these things only if I surrender them- and one might do so for reasons of self-preservation. The very young Brian did to a certain degree; the older one less so.

Either way how (or if) I move forward is distinct from the original assault.

Denying or minimizing assault might feel like regaining one’s power. I am not convinced that it’s true, other perhaps than in a short term sense. It may provide time to heal; physically or psychologically. I suspect that such denials are often tied to a lost sense of self-worth that many experts say ties directly to having been assaulted- the “my trauma isn’t as terrible as others” reaction.

There is, often, a genuine danger in denying or minimizing the lasting effects of having been assaulted. And it seems to me those may be much more serious than the current social poo-pooing of people using/wanting ‘trigger warnings’. I agree that accepting and processing through our legitimate reactions to being victimized is healthy and good for each individual. Reaching a point of not being triggered; or at least capable of processing it in the moment. At the same time I find many of those same people who hate trigger warnings are quick to suggest we bury or ignore the unprocessed reality which is what’s getting triggered. And that is not healthy.

Related Posts:
An Update On My Memoir;
Why I Push ‘Guts’;

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