Death of a Victim
By Asia Kindred Moore
It would be nice to say that I started to rebel against the system when I was 13, that I took on the authority and gained the maturity of someone who’s lived it out…But that would all be a lie. It was the lie I kept telling myself and everybody else for about a thousand days.
Underneath, I was busy being a victim. When anything bad happened to me, and it did all the time, I could just say, “goddam pigs”, or “stupid parents”, or “asshole teachers”, or “fucked up world.” It was never really my fault, it was always theirs.
And there was a lot of fault to go around. I have been in my fair share of trouble over the past few years. I knew that I had committed the crimes, but there was no way in hell that you could get me to take responsibility for it. I blamed my cutting and my drug and alcohol use on my depression, I blamed my depression on my thoughts and feelings, and I blamed my thoughts and feelings on events happening outside of my control. In the end, it was one huge spiral of lies, a web that I continued to spin long after I realized that I was doing it.
When I got into my worst trouble and was sent to the Marion County Juvenile Detention Hall, I sat in my cell and had an epiphany. Why was I subjecting myself to being the victim when the entire time I wanted to be the victor?! How was I going to regain my freedom from the system when everything I did helped the system to take my freedom away?! It was schizophrenic, but not the clinical diagnosis kind. This was schizophrenia by choice, without the bad brain chemistry. I realized that I had been reinforcing the power that they had over me by taking this pathetic role and using it as my accomplice. From the beginning of my teenage years I had based my actions on the very something that I was trying to avoid. And that was me giving away my personal power. They weren’t doing it to me, I was doing it to myself.
Why do people choose this victim role? I think I know. After all, who wants to take responsibility for a lie they told, a person they hurt, or a mistake they made? Especially when they are terrified of the consequences. That kind of victim just doesn’t want to take responsibility for their actions. Somehow it seems easier to act like it’s no big deal, or lie about it and hope you don’t get caught. When you do get caught, blame them. I’ve been there.
But there’s another, more complicated kind of victim, and I’ve been that too. It’s something that is cultural, something that is learned. An example is, look at the relationship between man and woman over the centuries. The average wife was oppressed or treated as a prize. Women had little say in what they wanted and their primary role was to please the husband, or raise the children. Is this not a tradition passed down from mother to daughter, like a dark inheritance from countless generations back? This is learned victimization. It has to stop with me. I will never teach my own daughters to play the victim to any man or boss or organization. More important, I won’t teach my daughters to play the victim to their own spiral of lies.
There are real victims, i.e. the innocent person hurt by something out of their own control. Which is to say there are real injustices out there. Victimization is common and I think it should be a central issue for those of us who care about freedom. It’s a dangerous world and you have to look out.
What we must realize is that we can help counter victimization by doing simple conscious acts. How often do we see and hear people being discriminated against, but do nothing about it? Most people don’t want to get involved in other peoples’ business, but by tolerating the intolerable we ourselves turn into the victim—or the victimizer.
Since my realization, I have been trying to counter the victim inside me by saying what I think, feel, and know. Of course I’m only human, as human as it gets, and I slip up every once in awhile, maybe everyday. People make mistakes, I make mistakes, its impossible to be perfect. But when I say, “I won’t be a victim,” it means that I put conscious effort into it. It’ll take time for me to be that aware all the time, because years of being a victim is something that you just can’t change at the drop of a hat.
Asia Kindred Moore lives in Salem, Oregon. She attends 21st Century High School and has just completed her first two college classes (psych. & poly sci) at Chemeketa Community College. She plans on being off probation before her next birthday. Asia is 16 years old.