Every victim is faced with them and every survivor has chosen between them.
Though intensity may vary, every single type of crime is traumatic because the world, as the victim knew it, has been changed. A home burglary feels like a violation and victims are often apprehensive about entering their homes again. Living in domestic violence is demeaning and victims are often left feeling worthless and no good. A homicide produces a grief unlike any other and those left behind find it difficult to even breathe let alone live.
But life around a victim continues even as theirs has stopped.
And to restart it, they will have to make a choice. And the choice will boil down to a very simple question: “Will I or won’t I?”
Though the question is simple, the actions around the answer are hard. “Will I” requires the victim to eventually decide that a new normal is worth it, that peace has value, and the acknowledgement that they will have to wrestle with some big concepts along the way such as forgiveness. “Won’t I” requires less but is still a choice. “I won’t” allows the victim mentality to begin to take root – the sense of entitlement and the idea that no one has suffered a worse pain. Both require a decision, one produces healing.
Merriam-Webster defines “survivor” as continuing to function or prosper despite a circumstance or happening. Even the definition points out the choice – when faced with trauma, one can continue or one does not. The definition also points out that making the choice to continue may only produce functionality BUT it also may cause the person to prosper – a decision within the decision.
For those whose lives have been impacted by violence, we grieve with you but we also want to encourage you. Your life, though no longer the same, does not have to be over. Your life still has purpose and meaning. Your life can have beautiful moments in it and it can be a testimony to others of the blessings that come from choosing to overcome.
For those who are survivors, maybe you are ready to take the next step of sharing your story with others. For those who want to be survivors, maybe you are ready to take the next step of accessing resources to help you on this journey.
If either are you, please contact Valerie Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Decisions, decisions…..which will you make……check out this link for a little motivation.
Written by: Valerie Craig, Co-Founder, Tennessee Voices for Victims
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