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.