Victimization


I posted this on my facebook awhile ago and it led to an interesting discussion, so I thought I’d post it here as well:

“Why do people say “I refuse to be a victim”? Nobody chooses to be a victim. Has your house been robbed? Then you are a victim of breaking and entering and robbery. Have you ever been jumped? Then you are a victim of assault and theft. Have you ever been harassed while walking down the street? Then you are a victim of harassment. You can’t choose not to be a victim. Does that mean that you can’t choose how to respond to the victimization? Of course not. You can still choose how you’ll respond to the event. You can choose how you’ll act. Saying “I refuse to be a victim” doesn’t make you not a victim. It just makes you someone who is buying into societal victim blaming. You are saying that people choose to be victims. You’re saying that what happened to them was their fault.”

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9 responses to “Victimization

  • Godless Cranium

    Or they’re refusing to be a professional victim. There are people who try to cash in on the sympathy card as often as possible for attention.

    Or they’re saying they will try and prevent victimization.

    For example, people who are mugged might take martial arts or buy a weapon to prevent it from happening again. They’re trying to prevent another mugging.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      Yes, but the problem still stands. People shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of being victimized. They should be supported. Most people want to do whatever they can to keep from being victimized in the future, so saying “I refuse to be a victim” in the sense of “I refuse to be a professional victim” is like saying “I refuse to be laid off” after getting laid off from a job.

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      • Godless Cranium

        I fail to see how someone empowering themselves by declaring they won’t be a victim is shaming someone for being a victim. It’s the victim that is making the declaration.

        If someone were making fun of them for being a victim, then I could understand why you’d say they were being shamed for being a victim.

        I don’t think that statement (I refuse to be a victim) is used to promote shame, but to resist being made a victim.

        “so saying “I refuse to be a victim” in the sense of “I refuse to be a professional victim” is like saying “I refuse to be laid off” after getting laid off from a job.”

        And some people might do just that to prevent themselves from being laid off in the future. Perhaps they go back to school or try to make themselves indispensable to the next company they work for. Maybe they go into business for themselves, which would negate the possibility of being laid off.

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        • hessianwithteeth

          It’s problematic because it suggests that there is something wrong with being a victim. I’d say there is something wrong with victimizing others, not with being a victim. People don’t want to be victims. It’s not fun. But it’s also not their fault. Victims can do what they want to prevent future victimization, but they shouldn’t suggest that other victims are the problem in the process.
          When it comes to getting laid off, there is often nothing you can do to actually prevent it. Going to school may be one way to prevent it from happening in the future, but there are no guarantees. And climbing the ladder to make yourself indispensable isn’t always possible.
          Victimization is similar in that it’s not always possible to prevent future victimization. If you get robbed at home, you can try to move. But what if you can’t afford to move? You could get an alarm system, but those aren’t cheap either. And there are many ways to become a victim. I don’t think I know any one who hasn’t had a crime committed against them.

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          • Godless Cranium

            “It’s problematic because it suggests that there is something wrong with being a victim.”

            I disagree. I think it suggests people don’t like being victimized and will empower themselves to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It doesn’t mean they’re blaming themselves for being a victim in the first place and it certainly doesn’t mean they’re suggesting anything about other victims.

            “When it comes to getting laid off, there is often nothing you can do to actually prevent it.”

            You could make the same case about mugging. You can’t absolutely prevent a mugging either, but you can make it less likely they’ll succeed the next time.

            That doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. It’s about trying to feel like your in control and empowering yourself. I think (get the feeling) from your words, that you and I are looking at it from opposite angles. You seem to think it’s a negative statement, while I think of it as someone who is empowering themselves.

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          • hessianwithteeth

            No, I think we are saying the same thing at this point. Empowering oneself is fine, but I do think we need to be careful not to victim blame.

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          • Godless Cranium

            That I can absolutely agree with. 🙂

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  • Dena

    I think perhaps what they mean is that they are choosing not to live their life as if they are continuing to be a victim. Maybe?

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