To whom it may concern,
The most frequent word being used to describe those who have been abused, harmed or assaulted by Jimmy Saville is ‘victims’, rather than the term ‘Survivors’ which we Survivors ourselves prefer to use.
There is a qualitative difference between the two words – one implies weakness, the other strength.
The etymology of the word ‘victim’ and its link to the word ‘victor’ is interesting, and worth reflecting upon. The victor tends to justify any abuses they perpetrate, or harm they cause, and thus they minimise the meaning of the lived experience of those amongst the ‘defeated’.
Yes, Saddam was a monster – yet did the Iraqi people deserve what was visited upon them by the International Community in the name of removing this monster?
Madelaine Albright’s infamous comment on the sanctions that preceded the removal of Saddam, was that “the price was worth paying – we think the price was worth paying.” A price paid not by her, not by the US Government, or any other, not even by Saddam, but by the Iraqi people and their children.
There is also the use of the phrase “victim consciousness” which is often used to denigrate those communities and cultures who have been subject to massive and long term trauma and who come forward and seek acknowledgement of their stories as human beings, (rather than the simple and cold historical facts and statistics), from the inheritors of the Powers that traumatised them.
They are asked to ‘get over it’ – ‘ old history, not our ‘fault’, ‘things are different now’, ‘can we please move on’ etc etc….
These phrases are used to deflect honest reflection upon what has happened, and what the long term and present adverse affects are in meaning, and in the lived experience.
Vulnerability is not the same as weakness. One cannot describe the boys and girls assaulted by Jummy Saville as being weak, and ascribe that value of weakness to them as a quality they expressed that led to their abuse. One cannot in all fairness ascribe the value of weakness to those who suffer from the adverse affects of intergenerational trauma. Vulnerability is closer to the truth.
To Survive trauma and abuse most often means to live past the events themselves, scarred and wounded, and to slowly and painfully try to re-assemble oneself so as to continue to live as best one can.
Often this has to be done without adequate support or understanding from those closest to the Survivor, let alone the wider community and Society. This takes a formidable unacknowledged strength.
Not all Survivors make it, and it’s not through weakness that this happens. It’s through vulnerability, and through that heart breaking sense of abandonment that comes with denial, that comes with the all too common reflexive unwillingness of Society to accept that a pillar of Society could behave in such manner, a refusal to believe the Survivor because it threatens the projected image and self image of what are held to be central tenets or solid Institutions of Society.
”How could someone who did SO MUCH GOOD do so much evil?”
A Survivor would never ask that question in the way the media has framed the reporting of that question. A Survivor would never ask it in that tone of bewilderment.
The Survivors of Jimmy Saville's abuses are not concerned with the reputation of the BBC, as much as they are concerned with truth, recovery and restorative justice and the protection of present and future children.
So I am calling on all media, and anyone else concerned with these matters, to cease using the word ‘victim’ to describe those who were abused, and to use instead the word Survivor.To attribute strength to those who come forwards, and to those who are unable to come forwards, just for their willingness to continue living and coping with what they have been through.
I would also add that using the word ‘victimisation’ to describe the abusers actions towards the vulnerable is more reliable and accurate. The victimiser alters the reality of the abused. The victimisers is the culprit.
Finally, I note that in all of the reporting, the stories and histories of Survivors appears to be being screened out. This is a grave omission. It cannot, and must not stand if truth, justice and genuine resolution is the intent of those who are writing and acting on this matter. Kindest regards
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