Victim vs. Survivor, and Why It Matters.

Anyone who has spoken to me in any depth on the topic will have heard me use the word “survivor” when describing individuals who have experienced childhood abuse, sexual trauma, or any kind of interpersonal violence. Some people have asked me, why do I choose to use the term “survivor” over the more commonly used term “victim”? And why’s the distinction so important anyway? Let us see what the dictionary has to say on the matter:

vic·tim: one that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent; one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions; one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment.

sur·vi·vor: one who lives through affliction; one who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks. Continue reading “Victim vs. Survivor, and Why It Matters.”