Are all victims or survivors supposed to be perfect? If they’re not, does that mean it’s their fault or they deserved to be assaulted or abused? Some people think so. Is it ok to beat up your girlfriend and drag her off a porch and behind a shed by her hair threatening to kill her because she helped you burglarize some houses or steal a car? Is it ok to strangle your partner because she does drugs or he writes bad checks? NO, NO, and NO. Just because someone breaks the law doesn’t mean it is ok to hurt them? Most of the women I deal with are imperfect, just as I am. They are still a victim and something still happened to them that shouldn’t have no less than any other person.
Many times, those imperfect victims get treated very poorly by our judicial system, by their peers, by their family and friends, heck even my own office does it. Why is that? Why is it that people as a society always feel the need to blame the victim or judge them? “Well if you wouldn’t have done ______, that wouldn’t have happened to you.” Are you kidding me? It’s hard enough not to blame yourself or wish you had done something different, but when everyone around you says things like that or stares at you like you did something wrong it’s almost impossible not to. We should be supportive, not insensitive or cruel. None of us are perfect and I’m sure all or most of us have broken a law or two. It doesn’t give another person the right to abuse us or to mistreat us.
Sure, sometimes we put ourselves at risk or surround ourselves with negative influences which may increase our chances of experiencing abuse, but it doesn’t justify it. You don’t always know the circumstances behind someone’s decision to do what they do. Many victims that I deal with already had low self-esteem because of early childhood trauma, mental health issues, or some other type of abuse. They don’t believe they can get anyone better than who they are with because they don’t believe in themselves. Some of them use drugs to deal with their pain. I know there are other ways to deal with pain besides turning to drugs, but did they have a positive role model in their parents to teach them to stay away from drugs or to always follow the law? Who knows. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t…but you know what? It’s not my place(or yours) to judge them for their choices or mistakes. That is for God’s to do. He will be the one to judge all when they come before him. I am not God and I am no better than anyone else. We’ve all made bad choices in life. Some of them have caused us pain, but many of them teach us life’s lessons. Life didn’t come with a handbook so we just go along trying to figure it out along the way. Some of us are luckier than others, some of us are more driven than others, and some just hurt too much to try or to care. Either way, we are all human beings and we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Remember the golden rule…Treat others as you would like to be treated? Somewhere that got lost through time. As parents we have forgotten to teach our own children that powerful message. What are you teaching your children, your grandchildren? Please don’t teach them to judge others. Please teach them kindness, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance. Teach them grace for we all need to show grace to those who are suffering from abuse. We need to build them up so they can have a better future, not dig their hole deeper.
Each day I try to be a better person, I try not to judge, I try to be compassionate. I don’t always succeed, but I never stop trying and I ask forgiveness for my shortcomings. How about you?