Never Call Me Victim
I am a survivor.
Don't bother to berate me into trying to use the word victim.
I was 13...got that...13 years old. I was raped. When I had the audacity to fight back...I was beaten unconcsious. I was unconcsious for more than two days. In thehospital several more. And home on bed rest until I could walk, and talk and eat solid food.
Broken jaw, broken ribs,broken orbital, broken cheek bone, concussion, internal bruising, black eyes, broken teeth, bruising, cuts and abrasions all over my MIGHTY 87 pound fr
I knew my attacker.
I knew my attacker's family. So did the police, and Dr., and my parents.
End result...nothing happened, "Nothing really happened", "boys will be boys", "She must have just gotten in over her head", "This could cost him his chance at the University", "What will people think?"...ad nauseum.
Part of that was the area, and part of that was the time, and part of that was who the two families were.
So...I recovered in the hospital. Tragic accident. I went back to school. And faced the cold stares of my classmates. I heard the whispers, I was alone. Why? Back to the part about who he was. His 'crew" had a game. They kept score. I was a trifecta: freshman, virgin, and teacher's kid. Yeah he won the beer party at the end of the year.
I, on the other hand, didn't really handle things very maturely. I took my father's shot gun. double barrel 12 gage, went down to the pier where his boat was and pulled the trigger. While I had fired the other one before... I had never handled the double barrel before. Idiot me pulled both triggers, missed, put a hole in his boat, landed on my arse, but had the satisfaction of seeing him turn several shades of green before diving into the water.
So....it was decided that least said sooner mended, since he was a senior I would be the one who 'visited" family out of town.
And it began. I was in Key West for a while, and for the next few years traveled all over. A week here, and weekend there.
Fast forward. I got married. Still not sure why. Then he began to hit me. Never apologize. It was my fault he did it. Whatever.
I fought back. I fought back like a spit fire. But.ended up in the hospital a couple of times.
Once I woke in the ER to a Dr., a nurse, and a police officer I had gone to school with, all standing there. The Trooper asked me" What happened?" I lied..."I fell". With out missing a beat the trooper asked "Well...did he help you fall?" Just like that I could have said yes and it would have all been over. But no...it would have just started things in a different way.
Back to the part about the times, and the place, and the families involved. My answer was "no".
Instead I left and filed for divorce. Almost as bad. But I made a very interesting deal. I leave, take nothing, get nothing and have my son, and he never, never appears to me again. AND...if I ever even thought he was raising his hand to anyone..male or female...I would bring the world down around his ears. He took the deal.
On the rebound...being incredibly stupid I got married soon after. This man was different. He was emotional and towards the end, sexual in his abuses. Being just a little wiser...I filed reports. But before anything could be done...he left and filed for divorce in another state. I let him. Although those reports still follow him since they were never resolved.
I had several other instances where I was used as a punching dummy. One was another family member. A couple were women. (Yes..women can be abusers too)
I went to work as a volunteer first at a shelter. Next on a hot-line, and at different times with a counseling center.
Always we were told to not refer to the people coming in as victims.
This was professional, counselors, psychiatrists, social workers, Dr.s, lawyers, police... all said with out fail "The people are survivors...not victims".
OK argue semantics with me. I like word games. When compiling statistics for reports the word victim is appropriate. When referring to those who died, the word victim is appropriate, just as for any other crime. But when looking eye to eye with someone who has just come through hell...They are survivors".
I AM a survivor. Do not ever make the mistake of telling me I don't respect...or support others. Do not ever question my loyalty to the cause of ending violence.
I am a SURVIVOR.
Recently...I said something to a person. Something innocuous. Something about the word victim being rather demeaning.
The rant I received, along with the not so veiled question of my integrity was too much for me.
Damn skippy I'm pissed. There have been times when my integrity, my honor, was all I had. My word, and my heart, and compassin and what passes for my soul, are integral to who I am.
Who the blazes does this woman think she is that she can DEMEAN me with her rant.
Sound alittle thin skinned? Tough! I've worked my backside off, and still do. And more...I've survived.
I helped establish the blasted shelter in my home county. I worked with the Commission for Women, on local, state and National levels. I have appeared before local, state and even Congress and Senate committees. I have been to more protests, and marches than most people even have heard of. And been detained at the pleasure of the city or state, (and a couple of fed). Want to know the difference in feel between zip cuffs and metal ones?
I continue to volunteer.
Just because I am not some strident shrew screaming like a fish-wife in the bizarre doesn't give anyone the right to say I don't respect women.
I am a woman. And a survivor.
And damned proud of being both.
There are multiple self defense for women courses available everywhere. And it is because of survivors. They are in place because the women and men connected to the survivors carry that much respect for them. Changes have been enacted, and progress made, because of survivors.
But I digress.
I started by saying I am a survivor.
I end by saying I am survivor.
Never call me a victim.