A repost from my first version of this blog:
According to the first two definitions in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a victim is someone who has been injured or killed as a result of an event or circumstance, or a person or thing harmed or destroyed in pursuit of an object or passion. In modern society, however, this definition has been severely expanded such that everyone and anyone who has experienced the least inconvenience in any context is a victim.
After all, it is a comforting thought. When you are a victim, nothing is your fault. It was not your responsibility and there was nothing you could do about it. Even better, as a victim, no one can place any responsibility for what happened, or the aftermath, on you. To top it off, as a victim you are entitled to reparations. After all, you were the one harmed by what happened, so society as a whole owes you for what happened.
The roots of this movement lie in the eternal battle between law and justice. The theory was quite sound and valid: a person harmed should be able to seek redress for that harm. If property is stolen, you should be able to get back the item or the cost to replace it from the person or persons that took it. If you were injured in an attack, then the person or persons who injured you should pay for medical bills, lost work, clothing, etc.
It all seems reasonable and it was, until the definition of harm was expanded. Harm became much more than simple damage, it became something almost mystical without clear definition or boundaries. Harm was more than mere cost, it was an ethereal thing defying a constant definition. No longer measured, it was a thing sensed and felt beyond words. It was something even beyond pain and suffering, an eternal darkness weighing down the victim.
By the new definition, it no longer takes direct action to produce harm. Words harm, and even innocent words can cause damage. Pictures or images can harm, and even sounds can harm. Instead of the median or mode of society, the norm, the definition was shifted to the most fragile in society. Instead of the “most reasonable people” concept, it became the “least person” concept.
It was and is also lucrative. Since it can’t truly be defined, it also cannot be defended against. There is no way to disprove the claims of anguish, in large measure because there is no way to truly prove the claims. It is raw emotionalism, and as such more a form of blackmail than anything else. This provides economic and political leverage/power for those that wield it.
The payoff is not merely in the form of money, but in less tangible things as well. A victim by definition is not responsible, therefore anything they do in the future cannot be held against them as it occurs as a result of their victimization. A victim has, in essence, a free pass for the rest of their lives for all that they do. So, more and more people delight in being victims, and more and more so-called leaders encourage this as it provides them with a power base.
Someone insulted your clothes in elementary school? You are scarred for life and a victim. Someone says you are pretty? You are a victim. Someone calls you ugly? You are a victim. Someone does a commercial with characters wearing a hat that looks vaguely ethnic? It is secret racism and you are a victim. Someone makes a polite pass at you? Sexism! And again you are a victim. A teacher requires you to go look something up? The Horrors! You are a victim!!
Congratulations! You now have a free pass for life. You have the perfect excuse and a valid legal defense for anything that comes at you in the future. You may even qualify for monetary damages!
Give. Me. A. Break.
There are two other definitions of victim about which you need to think. One is a living creature sacrificed to a deity or rite. The other is a dupe, the prey of those who would feed off the weak.
When someone is persecuted for an innocent action, or simply for the sake of political or other expediency, that person is truly victimized. When someone is persecuted for something they did not do, or that is attributed to their ancestors, that is true victimization. When someone is tried later for something that was not a crime at the time, and maybe even a societal norm, that is true victimization.
It is easy to forget, especially when there is strong encouragement to do so, that all things come with a price. That price have many facets, from higher costs for products or services to a denial of products or services. It may be that the lives of individuals are destroyed by mere accusations, unproven and unfounded, and there is a high cost to that.
The easy thing to do is to be a dupe, to play into the system (You can’t win unless you play!) and find a way to be a victim. The hard thing to do is to avoid it. There is a fine line between justice and vengeance, and it is not always easy to see. There is a fine line between legitimate redress and the Cult of Victimization, and serious efforts are being made all the time by the unscrupulous to blur or erase it.
The key to this lies within you. Are you going to let the bully in 3rd grade define your life for you? Are you going to let the crushing disappointment of being dumped by a lover rule your life forever? Are you really going to give another person that much power over you? Are you really going to give them your soul?
Just down the page from victim is a far more powerful and important word. A word towards which any follower of the way should strive. That word is a simple one, also only six letters long.
A winner. Someone who triumphs over adversity. A person who wins the contest. An individual who defeats the opposition and the odds despite any and all circumstances. A person who does not let any one, or even several, setbacks deter them from winning.
This is a person who looks ahead. This is a person who refuses to let themselves be defined and limited by what has occurred, but uses it to move forward and achieve great things.
And that exposes the true trap of the Cult of Victimization. As a victim, you are forever trapped in the past, with no future. Everything is measured against that event, and you must always look back to it in horror so that it defines you and your life. It limits you, and you will always be dependent upon a system to support you.
Raise up your eyes. Turn around, and look up. There is a vast expanse of unwritten future that awaits you, and it can be as bright and as high as you want it to be.
You may have experienced real trauma in your life; or, you may be a manufactured victim. It matters not. The choice is still yours, to live in the darkness of what was, or to move up and ahead.
My question to you is, are you going to give the person who harmed you absolute control over your life, your destiny? Are you going to let them win in the truest sense of the word? Or are you going to take back your life and have the best revenge of all: living well and accomplishing great things?
That choice is yours. It is up to you to decide if you are victim, or victor.