“You can slowly ease into being a victim or you can accept being a victim, the only difference is the level of fight” – Terry Wiens (2018)
I had a very hard time falling asleep last night and was plagued with thoughts regarding victimization. There’s a twisted irony to a week containing the annual celebration of love, Valentine’s day, ending with the level of tragedy we witnessed in Florida. What kept me awake was realizing how deep into the wastelands of desensitization we are becoming as a society. There has been over fifty years of that type of tragedy for us, as a society, to speak up and demand change but our collective silence allows it to continue.
A late night discussion on the pitfalls of stepping forward out of fear of repercussions just highlighted how far we have wandered into the forest of denial out of fear of speaking up. Social media has just enabled even more vitriol to paralyze public reaction and keeps people in fearful silence.
I have spend my life refusing to be a victim which has made me the activist I am today. I will not be silent on victimization, repercussions be damned, I will not be silenced towards injustice out of fear of losing friends or services. It is my responsibility to minimize my own level of victimization and if that means being a dick every now and then, so be it.
I am no Colton Boushie but I do recognize the victimization attached to that case. Being a victim is not a competition, it is not about the degree of victimization, it’s about the state of the groupthink that allows it to happen. It’s about attitude.
When a court case can dismiss any potential aboriginal jurists under the guise of a “perceived bias” while twelve white jurist are believed to have no racial bias that says something about our society. When persons of authority in that community can write on social media that the “only mistake was leaving witnesses” one has to question how balanced the system is for victims.
The biggest victims here are the First Nations community themselves. Granted none of Colton’s peers sounded like angelic kids but then I was never a fully law abiding teenager either. That didn’t mean you could shoot me and then walk away unscathed. People need to speak up before this type of victimization becomes a norm. Every time we remain silent we desensitize ourselves to the harshness of reality. When we fail to speak out we become part of the problem and not a contributor to a solution.
These seventeen deaths in Florida were more than victims, they were martyrs. They died in the name of a cause most of them probably weren’t even aware of. The true victims are those who now now have to live with the void left in their lives because of inactivity to tackle an issue America has turned a blind eye to for generations. An issue that has been going on for years in America but protected by the financial strength of one organization, the NRA.
These were mainly kids going on innocently with their life’s at school when the unthinkable happened except it is no longer unthinkable in America. It is becoming a norm and nobody wants to speak out against it except for the victims. From the Kent State massacre to Sandy Hook, Columbine and now Stoneman High School in Florida. America has had over fifty years to address this problem but nobody seems to have the guts to speak out. Politicians talking about “thoughts and prayers” is just crappy code for “hey NRA how about donating to my election campaign” and it has to stop.
The “victims” are the survivors. They are the ones who live with the consequences of those who don’t want to speak out for fear of ramifications. I find myself speaking out more and more as our system continues to erode. And it’s the silence of the masses that contribute to the erosion.
As I age I find myself increasingly victimized by a system that pays more attention to the demands of developers than community members. I am tired of hearing about this building of an inclusive community while the powers that be give a pass to developers on meeting certain standards or selling assault weapons to 19 year old kids. This cherry picking of when and where to allow something produces victims and I refuse to be a victim regardless of the threat of repercussions.
Living in fear of repercussions just emboldens the bullies and bullies don’t have to be an individual, it can be a termed used to describe a situation or organization. When institutional bullying pushes us to the point where we have to resort to “spying” to protect our aged loved ones it is a sad commentary on how far we have slipped into that jungle of denial. Repercussions can be frightening and if we succumb to them we are already lost. I will not be complicit in a “Silence is Golden” campaign that just allows further abuse in the future. As I said, survivors live on following the tragedies of the martyrs…
TAKE A STAND, I am and I have taken it all the way to the Residential Tenancy Board despite the toxicity I am currently forced to live in. It’s only toxic if I stay silent about it