Just my Thoughts

Victims, Self-Defense and Violence

My mind seems to be drawn towards these three words this morning:  victims, self-defense, and violence.  I can pinpoint why as I read some creative writing that was masochistic and a news article on a domestic violence advocate and a blog on self-defense.  The combination of the three of these has set my mind moving in deep, mostly dark ways.

First, I cringe at the fact that the domestic violence advocate is from the Crime Victim’s Assistance Center.  Yes, domestic violence is a crime.  My problem comes with the word victim.  When we, as a society, assign the word victim to someone, we take away who they are.  Domestic violence has already done that to the person experiencing it.  Domestic violence has removed the “safe” from the home and has taken away any identifying factors the person experiencing it may have had with that home and that family group.  The last thing that person then needs is to be told he or she is a victim.

MindBodyMama’s blog entry on self-defense also brought about a word I dislike.  She talked about how women, and it is true that is mostly women that think this way, say they were “lucky” when they ward off an attack, when they defend themselves.  I have never in my life heard a man say he was lucky to not get mugged in a parking lot because he hit the attacker.  I have never in my life heard a man say he was lucky to not be raped by that woman.  Why do women presume that it is luck that allowed them to escape injury or danger?  A societal norm that women are not strong enough to defend themselves, a fairy tale read in youth that says someone will save you play into the reasoning women think escape is luck.

We all, men and women, deserve to live safe, healthy, happy lives without luck playing into our safety.  We need to be able to defend ourselves and to know that we are worthy of safety.  We need to know that we are not victims in our own lives.

4 thoughts on “Victims, Self-Defense and Violence

  1. This is an important post. You make such critical points, and words have the power to influence how we see ourselves and how we act.

    This: “When we, as a society, assign the word victim to someone, we take away who they are.”

    You are so right. “Victim” is a word filled with powerlessness. We need a different word.

    Equally, so: “I have never in my life heard a man say he was lucky to not get mugged in a parking lot …”

    Absolutely true. “Lucky” to fight off an attacker? Try courageous, attentive, prepared, strong, defiant or any number of other words.

    1. BLW – This is an issue that is close to my heart for many reasons. I truly thank MindBodyMama for her post as it made me realize this is something that I have not written about in a long time.

  2. Nicki–Thanks for weaving these thoughts together and linking to me. Language is so important, as is telling our stories. I’m so glad that Momalom introduced me to you and BigLittleWolf! Lynne Marie

    1. Lynne Marie – Thank you for coming to visit. Your blog pushed me to write this today so thank you for that, also. Now I am a devoted reader!

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