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you don't drown by falling

There has always been this discussion about whether to call someone a victim or a survivor or something else.  In my line of work, they are called victims.  That is the technical term given to them.  It’s what is referenced in all police reports.  However, some women/men are insulted by that word.  I hear “I am not a victim” all the time. I get it, really I do. I even hate to use the word myself, but honestly when I begin working with them most of them truly are victims.  They are victims of a crime.  Many of them continue to be victims without even realizing it.  They are drowning by standing still in a pool of pain, isolation, abuse, sadness, insecurity.  Those that choose to move, kick, fight for air are the ones that I call survivors.  Now some of you may disagree with me and that is ok.  Some of you may say, those that stay and continue to put up with the abuse are the real survivors.  You are right, they have survived… the abuse, the pain, the sadness…but are they really surviving or are they just treading water sinking slowly?

In my point of view, a survivor is someone who makes a stand to not accept less than what they deserve.  Someone who asks for help and takes charge of their life working towards making it better.  Someone who says “I am strong, I am beautiful, and I deserve better.”  Being a victim doesn’t make you less of a person, it doesn’t make you broken, or unwanted.  It isn’t your fault that someone made you a victim.  You didn’t ask for it.  It was forced upon you without you even knowing sometimes.  Being a victim doesn’t imply you are weak or stupid or naïve.  It only means that someone did something to you that they shouldn’t have, that you didn’t want.  How you choose to move forward is what makes you a survivor.  I was a victim for years, but now I believe I am a survivor.  Don’t drown…your life is important!