I realize that I don’t view the world as others do.  I’m happy that there are people like Georgette who can help me to see the world from another perspective.  There was a juxtaposition of view points and Georgette pointed out an over sight on my part.  Her points are valid and I did rewrite a section.  I felt that Georgette’s words were profound and deserved more than a mere comment status.  These comments are reposted with her permission.  Thank you Georgette.

Response to There is a Difference

  1. Georgette says:

    Sorry, must disagree with you here– “A person who considers themselves to be a victim, will forever live in the shadow of the traumatic event. They will forever live in fear. They will forever feel worthless and ashamed. ”

    I think it’s pretty bold to make predictive statements like that about people who live through the trauma of a violent crime. A person may start out considering themselves a victim and learn to see themselves as a survivor. I wish people didn’t feel the urge to categorize like this. Victims and survivors alike possess a special courage that might not immediately be visible to an outsider. We shouldn’t speculate that people react in certain ways to horrible crimes because they lack “courage.”

    I’m both a victim and a survivor of sexual assault, and I’ve spent almost twenty years volunteering as a sexual assault crisis counselor, as well as prosecuting violent crime for over ten years. One thing I’ve learned is that no one knows what another’s experience was like, even if you’ve gone through something similar. You’re right though, offering a helping hand and confidence that things will change for the better can be a good start.

    But the difficulty in getting over an assault, the length of the journey to being able to walk with one’s head high, is never the “survivor’s” fault even if they see themselves as a victim.

    • Georgette says:

      Oh Gosh, Jodi, as you know from my email to you, I hope I didn’t come across as strident or snippy, I was probably typing and hitting “post comment” too soon as I always do! Your intent was clearly positive and constructive and I hope you’ll forgive me being defensive.

      As a crisis counselor, I went to the ER many times to assist survivors (first thing we’re taught is to call them “survivors” not “victims” so you were exactly spot on with the distinction!) and their loved ones. I was ALWAYS impressed with the professionalism, kindness, warmth and sensitivity of the SANE nurses (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) and I am absolutely certain that your caring shines through in your interactions with survivors too. As evidenced by your comment above, regarding telling them you don’t know how they feel and wanting to know what’s most important to them… that’s it in a nutshell.

      I strongly encourage anyone who would like to be able to support a survivor of violent crime to seek out their local crisis assistance agency (some go by names like Rape Crisis, Assault Crisis, etc.. in Austin, we’ve combined the Rape Crisis with the Domestic Violence Shelter and formed SafePlace..) These groups are pretty much always eager for volunteers in a variety of contexts (crisis counseling is only one– they also may need educational presenters, companions during court hearings, answering phones or the 24 hr hotline, even volunteering teaching English or babysitting at the shelter, for example). Best of all, you get free training that enables you to best assist and support people going through this difficult time.

      But Jodi, your open mind and warm heart are the real essential. You have that already :)

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3 Responses to Juxtaposition

  1. Jodi and Georgette,

    Reading the post and comments have been interesting. I am actually a therapist at a local sexual assault center and have been there just under 3 months but it has been an experience. it feels odd to say it has been a good experience but it truly has in that I am given the opportunity everyday to see amazing strength and perseverance in my clients, day in and day out.

  2. That comment was posted before I completed it, I apologize. I see various populations ranging from children to adolescents to adults. Georgette, I think what you do is wonderful and it is amazing the strength and courage that you bear. I agree with you and wish that there wasn’t the need for people to have to categorized as either victim or survivor or really anything in particular. It is most certainly true that no matter the circumstance, it is never the victim/survivor’s fault. I sit everyday with people who have experienced things that no one ever should have to endure. I am humbled by their ability to sit with me in therapy sessions and process their experiences and how it has effected them. I think the biggest purpose of using the term “survivor” as opposed to “victim” is the underlying strength the term bears as well as trying to give them back a sense of empowerment. I think both terms are true and can be used, as Georgette has done so. I appreciate the conversation the two of you are able to have. I am sure my comment was fairly repetitive of what Georgette had to say but I never intended my words to offer a new perspective but rather simply to reiterate and to express gratitude.

    • Dragonlady – Thank you for your insite. As Georgette and I discussed in private, we think that is important that people have this dialogue. It is important that people know that there are people like Georgette and yourself who cah help them learn to live again. New perspective or not, it’s important to just put the words out there. It is my hope that someone in need will read these words and it will make a difference in their life. In the short time that this post has been up, I have already had three hits from internet searches about this topic. Thank you again for reading and supporting this topic.


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