I haven’t connected to television programming in twenty years, so I’m horribly out of step with that aspect of our culture, which is HUGE. One other friend and I often sit in silence at dinner parties while everyone else enthusiastically discusses the latest episode of the hot-right-now shows they’re all watching regularly. I don’t even recognize the names of any of the actors or actresses.
In group settings, the conversation always seems to eventually get around to that subject. And, it did again when my brother, sister-in-law, and I sat and watched my children swimming. My half-brother absolutely loves a show called Naked and Afraid and told me I just had to see it. Fortunately, there were a few episodes on YouTube, so I could take a gander at his obsession and feel a part of that conversation at a later date.
During one of the reunion episodes of the show the majority of the group verbally attacked one woman who had bowed out early from her expedition. One of the men condemned her for sitting around and playing the victim. She reduced to tears.
In my mind, as I was watching this verbal barrage, she was a victim! I didn’t care for how she presented herself, but she was plainly being bullied. She had clearly been ostracized during the time they were all Naked and Afraid and now she was being bullied to tears by the same group of people who obviously thought it was okay to treat another human being like that in a do or die situation. And, the greatest insult they could hurl at her was that she “made herself” a victim.
I hear it constantly. I see it on Facebook. Stupid memes everywhere. Inspirational quotes plastered around.
DON’T BE A VICTIM!
And, yet, there are victims. Victims of identity theft. Victims of natural disaster. Victims of random crime. Victims of drunk drivers. Victims of sexual exploitation. Victims of war. Victims of domestic violence. Victims of bullying.
But, don’t “make” yourself a victim.
I don’t know. Just my personal opinion, but I think we should make being a violent person or an exploiter or a criminal the thing to NOT be.
Our culture, and especially our institutes of higher learning, churn this garbage out.
Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged states, “People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.”
She eloquently twists it all around to make the culprit the victim. My apologies to all of those who fell in love with Ayn Rand in college, but what a bunch of hogwash!
Steve Maraboli doesn’t even try to sound deep and philosophical. He just says it…..“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.” And, even better, “Today is a new day. Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny! Let today be the day you stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking action towards the life you want. You have the power and the time to shape your life. Break free from the poisonous victim mentality [emphasis mine] and embrace the truth of your greatness. You were not meant for a mundane or mediocre life!”
C.R. Strahan makes it all sound so spiritual and righteous (which, then, does that make admitting to victimhood unspiritual and unrighteous?) when he says, “Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”
The “burden of being a victim”………I say that burden is placed upon an individual the day the cruel person chose to be a perpetrator. And, I think our society needs to break free from the poisonous stamp of approval it gives offenders whenever the greater encumbrance is placed upon the broken and abused individual. Every time we tell a victim to stop making themselves the victim we remove accountability from the one who is truly to blame for the wound…..the one who inflicted it.
The definition of the word victim is “a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.”
We are effectively removing responsibility from those who should be held accountable for their actions and crimes and are, instead, placing that responsibility on those injured. And, that is what feeds the violence. If you are of an inclination to hurt others and you know that no one around you is going to hold you liable for what you do, why not? What is stopping you? What restricts the evil?
The Good Samaritan did NOT ask the wounded man what he had done to put himself in that position, and he is our example given to us by Christ. Yet, most of the time, our first question is, “What is your responsibility in all of this? What did you do to put yourself in this position?” His first response was not to lecture the man on the forgiveness and grace he “owed” the robbers. He generously and kindly tended to the man’s needs, seeing he had been wounded.
He generously and kindly tended to the man’s needs, seeing he had been wounded. That is all.