More on Victimization

Q. Would you please share some more thoughts
about victimization?

A. Let’s Talk! Victims are victims because they are being overpowered by someone’s disrespect and for various reasons can’t say NO or say STOP.

We teach children that whether there is stranger danger or someone offering drugs or someone trying to touch them inappropriately – they are to SAY NO, GET AWAY, and TELL SOMEONE. But there are millions of children, teens, and adults who never say no, seldom get away, and seldom tell anyone. Sometimes victimization feels impossible to stop, but we CAN tell someone (or more than one person) until we get the help and protection we need.

The Hazelden Foundation has a document entitled “Continuum of Violence” that is excellent. Picture a horizontal line. On the far left are the nonverbal and nonphysical types of disrespect. Examples are shunning and eye-rolling. Ever happen to you? That disrespect was hurtful, wasn’t it? On the far right end of the continuum is the expected “violence” of hitting, knifing, and raping. In the middle of the continuum are the nonphysical verbal messages of disrespect like teasing and taunting.

In a study I did on school shooters, I found that in every case, the shooters or perpetrators had been victims of ongoing teasing and taunting. They were not able to draw a boundary, didn’t say “stop,” and never got help, but instead stuffed their rage and focused on their bullies and became “like” them. We become “like” what we focus on — it’s called patterning — and these victims then became the ultimate bullies. Teasing is not to be minimized. Next time, I want to talk about what victims of bullying can say to their bullies, whether it is a school or workplace setting.

My point this week is to illustrate again how important our words are. It matters what we say. It matters that we say no to all forms of victimization, that we not stuff words of self-protection. And, it matters what we are thinking.

For Deeper Reflection

Matthew 5:37 “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’ . . . .”

And even if you feel alone in your victimization, the One who loves you most will be with you.
Isaiah 43:1–3a “But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . .”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

Let’s Talk

What About Victimization?

Q. Would you please share some thoughts about victimization?

A. Let’s Talk! We see “victims” every day from stories around us to stories on the news. It’s a huge subject and hugely important. If I may, I’d like to even take the next several weeks to talk about its prevention and also treatment.

A victim is someone who has been disrespected and feels powerless to respond . . . and so a pattern begins. Someone has hurt this person’s body or feelings or property and the words “Stop – that hurts” don’t come out. The words get stuffed or not heard.

Those of us who are observers often feel powerless to help, so the wounded person can give in to a pattern of ignoring the problem or making excuses, further enabling victimization. Can we help? I think we can.

Most every business or company has a mission statement. What if in your world of influence, you could encourage or facilitate others via a written statement to agree that it is not OK to disrespect others? It’s a bottom line agreement. It’s zero tolerance for any form of disrespect in schools, families, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

I served as a school counselor for 12 years, and respect was one of my favorite guidance lessons to teach at the beginning of each school year. Four-year-olds even get it! There is a glorious look on their faces that they KNEW it wasn’t OK for someone to hurt their bodies, their feelings, or their property. I’ll share next week what you teach next, once the belief system is in place.

For Deeper Reflection

Matthew 7:12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
1 Peter 2:17 “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God . . . .”
Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor . . . .”
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves . . . .”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.