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Rape Victim Vs. Rape Survivor

show starting post by victoriaplaceo
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Panda8825
I don't agree with either label. The connotation of the word 'victim' in most people's mind means the person is weak, and a sloppy mess. The word 'survivor' when referring to a person that has suffered being raped is just as bad, but for other reasons. It's the same as saying 'I survived drinking sour milk.' you probably weren't going to die from drinking sour milk, and statistically you're probably not going to die directly as a result from being raped. (suicide is not a direct outcome it's a secondary outcome). To me women that can only feel better through a false sense of empowerment by using the word survivor vs victim are no better than the women that admit they are weak and refer to themselves as victims. NoT all women that were raped are weak, not all need to feel empowered afterward and find their 'inner goddess' of strength or become sensitive and curl up in a ball every time the word 'rape' is said. However, they still suffer and there is no where for these women to go. They aren't survivors, but they aren't victims. They are people that have been harmed, and like any physical and psychological wound it's going to have heal with time and it will scar. It's just something that is going to have to happen, regardless of what you call yourself. Using a label to make yourself feel better is just deluding yourself that you can be okay and fine again. You will NEVER be the same again, you will change the way you act and see the world. Just as with the sour milk, you change the way you act (checking the date, smelling the milk) You can either accept that and adapt or delude yourself and fall prey to nightmares and the inevitable breakdowns that accompany suppression.
I am for removing these bullshit labels and taking a matter of fact approach: You won't feel right, or okay for a while. You'll get pissed off, you'll get depressed and you'll forever be changed. Even after healing there is no promise that you'll be a better person afterward (which I always found that expectation to be crap. It's like saying that rape was a good thing since you became a better person for it) Yes, you will never be who you were before completely but the person you become you can control. Hiding behind a word to define yourself is detrimental to this process of real healing and acceptance of self. It delays and even halts it. It allows you to still stick your fingers in your ears so you don't have to fully face all of the unpleasant truths of the aftermath.

Just my opinion, not everyone will see things the way I do; not everyone would be willing to cut the hand holding and actually face the full impact of what had happened. I can see why as well;due the the pressure to become your normal self again, and if you fail to then you're broken and the rapist won. That mindset needs to be killed so you can actually heal.
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superpower   in reply to Plastic
Then I guess you should stop sharing your opinions on a subject you clearly do not understand.
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superpower   in reply to evolutiongoneastray
I agree with you. I also admire your courage to say it out loud.
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cebbec   in reply to Plastic
I completely agree with your Plastic. First off: Rape doesn't kill people. Murder does, and sometimes rape can lead to suicide but to be frank, the word survivor is a little misused compared to how it's typically been used in the last 100 years. People survive near death experiences. Rape simply isn't that. As I said in my own comment, and you said it in yours, it's pretty clear that rape victims are simply trying to use the word survivor to (for a lack of a better term) make themselves feel better. Maybe there's nothing wrong with that. If misusing a word helps someone heal than I think it's worth it.
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cebbec
I first heard the term "rape survivor" listening to NPR and I immediately knew exactly what you described in this post: That people had obviously decided to change the term to give victims a more positive/empowered outlook on their situation and themselves. I'm not saying it's wrong.. but it feels like another example of people trying to control language to suit their needs (political correctness?)
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evolutiongoneastray
this is the topic to my application essay to colleges. and i definitely agree, i played victim far too long. i am a survivor.
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victoriaplaceo
 in response to Plastic...   Not going to ignore you Plastic LOL. I really do not know how to respond and all I can do is say thank you for another opinion to take into consideration! I asked for opinions and I got them!

I really mean that and not sarcastically sometimes you can comment places and one never knows if you are being sarcastic, aggressive...so I thought I would clarify:)

So I appreciate your input
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Plastic
On second thoughts, what do I know, and who am I to all know-it-all about this kind of thing? Well done for keeping on keeping on and feel free to ignore me.
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Plastic
I found this post because I was wondering about the use of the two terms - the topic has been in the news recently and I'm due to take part in a "Slutwalk".

I won't bother with dictionary definitions because there will be hundreds of them to suit any purpose, but to me a survivor would be simply "one who survives" (as opposed to being killed or dying). It would be appropriate to use the term when describing an incident which could have gone either way - eg earthquake survivor or holocaust survivor.

Serious and horrific as it is, rape itself does not take life. Murder does, but obviously there's no such thing as a "murder survivor" - you could talk about "surviving an attempted murder", although since the murder was only attempted the clue is already there.

Hence I don't feel survivor is an appropriate word here. No-one would call themselves a "bike theft survivor"; they would be a victim of bike theft, even if they had clung onto the bike and put up a struggle.

That isn't to belittle rape, or compare it to bike theft in any other sense - I can't begin to understand how it must feel to go through it and I would respect the right of the victim/survivor to use any term they chose if it helps them - whatever gets you through. Perhaps someone might feel that rape does take something from their life and describing themself as a survivor goes some way to getting it back?


But I would worry that using the word survivor takes an emotive subject and complicate the matter further. We can't rationally discuss the crime of rape while in the back of our mind we are confusing it with murder. The word is inaccurate and generally I would chose to stick with victim.
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