Drewloid's Blog

Archive for January 2015

Victims are victims because they have been victimized. And it is still the choice of the victim whether to adopt the mantle of victimhood or whether to move on. In other words, nobody can make a person a victim without that personʻs consent.

In the wake of the Charlie Hedbo Massacre, as it is being called in the media, once again we see where people stand on the moral aspects of violence. I am rather inspired by the article I came across in the National Review Online http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395912/rush-blame-victims-charlie-hebdo-massacre-ian-tuttle.

This is quite a good article, and is basically decrying the tendency to blame victims, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. People who abhor violence sometimes like to prefer safety and security over standing for what is right and good and moral. Sometimes it is easier to hide in the dark than to stand in the light. When you stand in the light, other people can see what you stand for and they can see who and what you are. Other people get to know what you are made of.

I am a big believer in the notion of being in charge of what I experience. Just earlier this week I was explaining to a friend how simply sharing the teaching that “there are occurrences, and we get to choose how to learn from them” is a very powerful platform from which to build a thriving practice. And only a couple days later a major occurrence happens in the world and people are jumping in and making meaning out of it. And naturally the notion of who is the victim and who is to blame comes up. It is so much easier to attempt to understand the world from the dark. We donʻt have to consider who we are and what we ourselves stand for.

People cross the boundaries of others all the time. I do it, you do it, and we often do it unintentionally and unknowingly. It is a part of the learning process. Events occur and we have the opportunity to learn from them. When the transgression becomes sufficiently severe we label it “violence” and then the real fun begins. After all, if someone eats one of my cookies out of my big package of cookies, then it is not nearly as big a deal as a rape or murder. In reality these are the same sort of boundary violation, but the consequences for all parties involved have quite a wide range of significance. And often society likes to tell the victim how they are to respond, which is another attack unto itself. Some elements of society like to tell the victim that the event is horrific and the attacker should be appropriately punished, and some elements of society are going to tell the victim not to make a big deal about the event. And some elements of society will even prefer to tell the victim that they brought the event upon themselves.

I do not buy into the idea that anyone ever brings an unpleasant event upon themselves. Thatʻs just completely silly. I might do things that increase the probability of an unpleasant event, but that does not mean I want it to occur. Life is a risk.
So while the Charlie Hedbo people may have increased the risk of the attack that occurred, that does not mean they are to blame for creating it. That is the same kind of logic that suggests that a woman jogging through Central Park in Manhattan in the early morning hours is to blame for being raped. It is totally nutty. That is like saying my cookie is to blame for you stealing it. It is not your cookie, and I did not offer it to you. If you took it without my permission, you stole it.

There have been societies where any transgression, no matter how small, was punishable by death. This is probably a pretty good way to get people to take boundaries seriously. It is also probably rather extreme. It is equally extreme to suggest that victims are to blame for transgressions committed by others.

From the perspective of the observer, there is a transgressor, and a person who is the victim of the transgressor. To stand in the dark is to blame the victim and to pile on making them a victim. That keeps everyone in the dark.

Standing in the light we demand the transgressor acknowledge their actions and take responsibility for the consequences. And equally, we support the victim in moving beyond the event that occurred. A person who has been violently attacked and then is supported in the notion of living their life in fear has lost their life. Blaming a victim only makes this worse, and the blamers are attackers and transgressors at least as bad as the transgressor in the initial event.

Stand in the light.

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  • Roberta Koral: Hey Drew..Andrew ar Andy, whichever you prefer. I just found your blog. Roberta here.
  • globularity: Sharp analysis. -Davoid
  • Stephanie: What a marvelous article, thanks for writing it "friend."