A beautifully written and thought-provoking article. Thank you. I’m not sure words like paradox apply here, but I think that in refusing to be a victim it becomes impossible to claim you were a victim. That’s not to say something terrible or traumatic didn’t occur in your life, but the word victim no longer really applies since you refused to allow the event to define your life.
There are those who have experienced sexual assault or other crimes/traumas who insist we see them as victims, even years or decades after the fact. They insist these events have defined them, if not entirely then to a significant degree. If anyone tells them remaining a victim is their choice and that they are giving their attacker far more control over their life than anyone, let alone a rapist, deserves to have we are accused of “blaming the victim” or not taking their assault seriously. We are attacked for lacking compassion. Perhaps they are right, at least up to a point. After all, it’s not for me or anyone else to necessarily say how someone else should feel about a violent assault or how they should look back upon such terrible cruelty years later. All I can say is that if I had such an experience, I would want to find a way to move on as quickly as possible.
My point here is that it is not just society at large that has difficulty believing well-adjusted healthy and happy people could possibly have ever experienced an assault in their past. A very vocal (though I dare say they are a minority) segment among those who have experienced assaults or other traumas also perpetuate this belief. For some who have experienced violent sexual or physical assault being a victim is what it means to have been traumatized. To them, if you’ve found a way to move on the trauma was never real to begin with. Moving on isn’t supposed to be possible because the possibility is seen as minimizing the seriousness of the original crime. That to be believed one must wear victimization on their sleeve is, in fact, part of our culture — a rather unhealthy one in my view. A great many TV programs have made a name for themselves parading victims out before the public so they could share their stories, vent their spleen, and hopefully achieve “closure”. The argument could be made that victimhood has been placed on a kind of pedestal while recovery has been driven underground. Recovery doesn’t bleed, therefore it doesn’t lead.