257 Victim or Survivor: Why Language Matters

Prompted by an amazing listener email, we deconstruct “survivor” vs “victim” for those who have experienced trauma, exploring the ways language really matters when we discuss difficult experiences.

In This Episode


If a libertarian masturbates to completion…

Credit to Hbomberguy for the joke! Please watch his Lovecraft video essay, it’s unbearably beautiful <3


This fucking thing: Why We Asked President Trump to Go Vegan for January (Million Dollar Vegan)

Also mentioned today: Ad Astra is Clickbait (where Nichole first heard of the “Sadstronaut” genre) – YouTube

Main Topic

Inspired by a listener email, we unexpectedly turned the advice section into the main topic! Thank you to listener Cari for the thought-provoking and thoughtfully written topic idea. Cari’s email reads:

I’ve been thinking about the use of the word “survivor” instead of “victim” in the case of traumas or even relating to people with cancer and I just have some thoughts and want to hear what you think!

I feel like calling a victim a survivor is meant to be an empowering thing. Victimhood is historically tied to shame so no one wants to think of themselves in that way. But 1. Being a victim is not something to be ashamed of and that is something we need to work really hard on as a culture and 2. What if you don’t survive? What about victims of abuse who turn to drugs or alcohol and don’t “overcome” it in a way society deems appropriate? What about people who commit suicide following a trauma? What about cancer patients who don’t survive or “win the battle” as they say? Isn’t the use of survivor further belittling them or passing judgment or declaring these people weak, less moral, less worthy of compassion or acknowledgment? It seems to be another way to subtly put the blame on the victim if you don’t manage to move past it and live what others would call a “productive life” (ew). It’s a “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality that you are solely responsible for whether or not you “allow” trauma to completely fuck up your life. 

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