Real Victims Deserve More

This article from National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez recounts a touching encounter she had with a very broken woman and brings thoughtful reflection on how best to bring hope to those that need it.

It’s a good read that highlights the numerous ways groups like Catholic Charities support those in need, but also ponders what we as individuals can do to help. It quotes Mother Teresa who once said, “In this world, we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” I cannot think of a more simple, yet powerful concept on how to live and how to love by brightening your corner of influence.

I was also struck by how much the woman in the article, Cynthia, is a victim in the truest sense of the word. How she got there and if poor choices contributed to that didn’t concern me, but her present state did. Abused, repeatedly raped and completely crushed in spirit, she was in dire need of someone caring enough to help. Thankfully the author did which hopefully got the ball rolling for Cynthia to get connected with the appropriate support services.

Unfortunately there are many living life on the fringes like this, who don’t get that chance. They’re like zombies struggling just to survive another day in a war zone filled with unspeakable acts of violence and shame. Mental health, addiction, abuse and just plain bad luck all play a role and can render someone completely helpless to get themselves on a better path.

These people are real victims with real problems who desperately need a society willing to strive for creative and fresh solutions; to replace the default enable and ignore mode we’ve been stuck on for decades.

Yet too often the priorities of a perpetually outraged grievance industry overshadow the plight of these life on the fringe people, assigning victimhood status for the most trivial of ordeals.

Don’t like the political views of a guest speaker on campus? Well then you’re a victim of scary words that make you feel uncomfortable and you require a “safe room” for protection.

Are you a minority that feels slighted after your white professor marks up your term paper?  Microagression victim status for you then and a possible lawsuit against the professor.

Or are you a working woman who wonders why you’re not getting paid as much as your male friend with the same job title? Why it’s our patriarch society and its inherent oppression of women of course. It has nothing to do with the fact that your friend works longer hours than you because you requested weekends off with the kids. You are a victim!

I could go on but the point is that claiming the victim mantle or encouraging others to do so for the most casual of offenses does much harm. Not only does it belittle the experiences of those who’ve suffered horrifically, it defers attention, resources and talent from helping and finding better solutions. Instead of serious political discussions on mental health, violence and homelessness, we get incessant blathering from politicians about a fictitious “war on women”.

Society also loses out because people steeped in victimhood mentality are often so focused on their personal issues there is little room for much else. Thus other causes get ignored while this “victim” battles the perceived injustices being done to them, falling further in to a learned helplessness, which is the most tragic aspect of all.

This is when a person thinks everything that happens to them is outside of their control and so why bother to change anything. If you’re convinced that the unhappy or unsatisfying parts of your life are the fault of someone else than you’re never going to take the steps needed to improve things.

We all go through suffering of course and life certainly is not fair in doling it out. Some deal with tremendous obstacles throughout their existence while others seem to coast happily along. It’s imperative though to keep things in perspective. The more responsibility you take for your own life and the choices you make, the stronger you become and the better able you are to help someone truly in need. The Cynthias of this world are waiting for you.

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24 Responses to Real Victims Deserve More

  1. Oh, amen to this post! So well said. This is critical, “If you’re convinced that the unhappy or unsatisfying parts of your life are the fault of someone else than you’re never going to take the steps needed to improve things.”

    We have an entire victim grievance industry that promotes the precise opposite. Some mean well, but when we tell people they are victims, that they are not to blame, that it is not their fault, when we pity them, we rob them of their power. Empathy is well and good, but pity is to look down on someone and shake our heads sadly. It robs people of their power, their dignity, and what control they actually do have over their lives.

    Even rape victims, even domestic violence victims, who were clearly just the bug on somebody’s windshield, have only managed to free themselves once they were able to look honestly at what lead them into their circumstances. Those who can never do this, just repeat the cycle over and over again. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for people is to tell them they are not a victim and to offer them a hand up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Well said IB. I like how you frame empathy vs pity; it’s so true that that it can quickly turn to condescension which does the person no good at all. We live in such a bizzaro world now where so many things deemed to “help” people in fact do the opposite and not all of it I believe is unintended.

      Like

  2. Wally Fry says:

    This is good stuff Tricia. I don’t have anything to add, as social stuff is not really my forte. Just a thanks to people like you who help educate people like me…Thanks!

    On a humorous note, it seems as I read the atheist blogs that I am a victim myself. The consensus is I only came to faith as a result of low self esteem and a seeking of orderliness caused by a non supportive upbringing. Yay to victimhood! Never knew I was one, and the enlightenment was really cool. I wish somebody would have told me years ago, I would have milked it better than I did.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So interesting that you wrote this today! I’ve just been engaged in a long discussion with Karen at http://donotgetsickinthesinkplease.com/ on the issue of victimhood. As so often happens, it’s forced me to think through my own opinions – and here you come with more to ponder. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Well you’re welcome and thanks for coming by BT and for the link. I read Karen’s post, she is a funny lady, (Sisters of the Sexually Inactive, great line!). I read through some of the back and forth too and I agree with a lot of what you wrote. Classifying people as victims because of the groups they belong to I think is not only wrong but harmful in the long wrong. It was fun to read the discourse around this. Oh I do agree totally that women’s sexual repression has nothing to do with anything in America. It’s quite the opposite I think! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for taking the time to read and respond… 🙂 I think it really boils down to letting people decide for themselves how they feel about their own status. As Karen said, if someone believes they’ve been victimized (as a member of a group), it’s not for me to tell them they’re wrong. On the other hand, how I relate to them is going to depend very much on what they do next – i.e., sit around and feel sorry for themselves, or take constructive steps for change (that do NOT involve bullying another group!)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Al says:

    Well said, Tricia. You have defined precisely how the liberal politicians thrive. Their divide and conquer mentality is permeated with the “you’re a victim” mantra. Frankly, I don’t know how they sleep at night when their only contribution to society is “if you vote for me. I’ll take it from them and give it to you.” Never a hint of let’s work together to help you make your own life better. Great post, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Al and you hit the nail on the head on why politicians do it, it’s all about the vote getting and they could care less about anything else. The sad part is other, true victims need help but they don’t vote so their needs aren’t championed.

      Like

  5. madblog says:

    I never understood the appeal of volunteering to take “victim” as one’s ID. You give all the power to your oppressors! Of course then you have the power to winge and blame and complain and manipulate all your life. OK, sounds fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Ha, right? Where do I sign up? It’s true what you say that your ID in life becomes victim. Insanity Bytes said it well in an earlier comment that empathy is all well and good until it turns to pity and condescension which helps no one.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dennis says:

    Very well done Tricia.
    My criteria for helping a person or persons is that they must first recognize their part in the situation and wholeheartedly want to change behavior or circumstances and get out of the situation. Before Martha and I started from this baseline we helped people just to see them go right back into the situation and never extricate themselves. Its not “bad luck” so much as “bad choices” that has landed me and a lot of other people in less then good circumstances. Luckily I saw the light and moved on to better choices.
    It reminds me of quitting smoking, you have to want to quit for you not your kids or partner or anyone else. YOU have to WANT to quit and once your minds right you will quit. Same thing as getting out of bad situations. YOU have to WANT to get out and then you will. A helping hand is nice but it all starts in your own head and heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Dennis and yes, your heart really does have to want to improve things before lasting change is possible. There are many lost people though who for whatever reasons are in a psychological prison where they not only feel powerless to get out, but don’t believe deep down that they are even worth it. The faux outrage upper middle class college kids (and many adults) have about being victims of race, gender, class etc….pushes those in real need aside. Ha you and me both on our poor choices creating poor outcomes! 😉

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  7. Great post, Tricia.
    America is full of “Grievance Collectors” – people who blame others for their own failings. Christians should never be these type of people and we should stay away from them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Yup, an entire cottage industry has been formed unfortunately around creating victims, which is not good foe the individual and our country as a whole. Thanks for your kind words and coming by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      I just wanted to add that I don’t think staying away is necessarily the right thing. Depends on the situation I guess as some truly need help, even if they are a bit caught up in themselves. But, I agree totally with you that there are some completely toxic, blame everyone but yourself people that should be avoided.

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  8. ColorStorm says:

    ‘………..perpetually outraged grievance industry….’ ain’t that the truth 😉

    Many comments on this idea.

    nice one tricia

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautifully said. I’ve have never known so many victims of illnesses, grievances, bullying and whatever-shaming as in the time we live in today and buried under it all are people whose real victim circumstance actually makes it that much more difficult to wax lyrically about it every 5 minutes or wear it as a badge on a social network.
    I also like the turn of phrase ‘a corner of influence!’

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent article Tricia, and blog post you have written that corresponds with it.
    Having trained a bit in social work (but not working in that field), I have several friends that do work the front lines. Admire them for their perseverance to keep going and give out day in and day out. I try to support if at all possible lest compassion fatigue hits.
    There are many cases where others are blamed. Such a challenge to change the mentality.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    ~Carl~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thank you Carl and yes, God bless those who work on those front lines. I don’t know how they do it but miracles are happening there avery day. It’s the privileged ones I worry about, those who have no idea what true suffering really is, yet are constantly crying about some “injustice” being done to them. Not good for them, national character or us, um, older types, cuz they’re the ones who will be running the world soon and taking care of us…;) Hope all is well with you, hope to get over to your excellent site soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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