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Rape Victim Vs. Rape Survivor

show starting post by victoriaplaceo
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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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