VJN News

Victims say term ‘survivor’ is more empowering

Makayla Peacock
VJN News

An Ottawa woman who escaped an abusive relationship is fighting back against being called a victim of domestic violence.

Anne, who doesn’t want her last name used because she fears for her safety, is instead pushing for the term survivor.

“A survivor is someone who has come out of the blaze,” Anne said. “It’s not like a hero thing, but it is definitely something that is better than a victim.”

Anne says it’s time that people move past the idea that women are at fault for the crimes committed against them.

Crystal Scott, the director of Coverdale Centre for Women Inc. in Saint John, N.B., said the term victim implies helplessness.

“The word victim sort of has this stigma of being helpless and not being able to do anything, whereas a survivor is someone that has been empowered to make changes.”

While meant to empower those who have been through horrific times, the term survivor is something that some people have a hard time identifying as.

Brianne, a Carleton University student who does not want her last name published until the man who is accused of assaulting her has appeared in court, says she has a hard time identifying as a survivor.

“It’s still an open case and justice hasn’t been served, so it still feels like it could go in his favour and that people won’t believe me, so I will just feel like a victim and not that I survived anything,” she says.

According to a report released by the Parliament of Canada in 2013, 53 per cent of women aged 15 and older who reported abuse notified the police.