By Guest Contributor Jenn Riley
“Stop playing the victim”
“I choose not to be a victim.”
“I hate this whole victim mentality thing.”
What’s wrong with these statements? Basically, there is a world of difference between BEING a victim and PLAYING a victim or a victim mentality.
Let me put it this way. If I walk up to you and slap you across the face, unless you’re drunk or stoned, your cheek is going to hurt because I smacked you. That’s just a fact. But oh, there are entire schools of thought, and loud-mouthed people in them, who will shout from the rooftops that your cheek reacting to being slapped is nothing more than your dramatic need for attention. Or worse, that you were never a victim in the first place.
This is bullshit.
Victimhood is not reducible to mere “mentality” – that is subjectivism.
There is a literal, physical, evidential, emotional state of reaction and pain from something horrifically traumatic happening to you making you a victim. Something happened to you, against your will. Your reaction isn’t for attention or drama, or any other such hogwash. You were a victim, in the philosophical, actual, concrete definition of the word. You’re not weak, or dramatic, or a liar, because you have wounds inflicted on you from someone else’s evil.
Healing and forgiveness can be found, but it’s curious that this very thought sometimes drives the “stop playing the victim” mentality. Because healing in some form is possible, people act as though victimhood is somehow a sin and a stain. But here we are, back to the literal reality of the state of a victim: you cannot heal from a wound unless you acknowledge the wound is there. And much like the nature of internal bleeds, these wounds will fester silently if left unchecked, unseen to the eyes of all around you – because if they can’t see it, it’s apparently not there.
Therefore, in the eyes of this terrible roundabout, you’re not a victim.
But this presumption not only violates the personhood of the victim; it also denies reality.
For those of you reading this who can’t tell the difference between someone playing a victim and coming forward to state that something actually happened to them: you need to reevaluate your life. You are causing immeasurable pain and heartache to those who have been victims of terrible sins and violations against them, so stop it, and keep your mouth shut. And pray that, goodness forbid, if you’re the victim of terrible violence yourself, you’ll be able to find the consolation, comfort, and understanding that you have denied to others.
image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cast_sitting_victim_Pom