I keep thinking about things in my life where I’ve been victimized. Much of it was by my own actions. You would think that I had learned my lesson from helping others but that isn’t always the case. As a survivor of sexual assault, fraud, mental abuse, and bullying, I can attest to the fact that our mindset determines how we move forward when we have been victimized. Life isn’t fair. It can be messy and unjust. It can also be a beautiful transition when we allow ourselves to rise above the ashes and start anew.
I remember in college a professor once told the class that being a victim is a choice. I don’t know how much of that I agree with but she said in her lecture that we set ourselves up to be victims all the time. This may be more accurate than I want to admit. When we let our guard down to let others in, we are setting ourselves up to be victimized. No one can keep their walls up all the time. There will always be incidents that cause us to be victimized more than others. The question then becomes how do we minimize opportunities for others to take advantage of us?
- Be aware of your surroundings. It sounds so simple but it’s really true. Being aware of what is around us doesn’t have to be just a physical act. When we take the time to pay attention to what’s around us, we make better decisions. There’s no guarantee that things won’t happen but we can take better control.
- Stay calm. What happens when we panic? We don’t tend to think clearly. We make rash decisions that can have disastrous effects. In short, we react better when we don’t let others get us off track.
- Don’t give away your personal information easily. This is imperative. In this day and age, there are so many different people trying to gain access to your accounts, your personal information, and anything they can about you. They could care less about doing the right thing. They just want to earn a quick buck and don’t care how they do it. Guard your information and protect your privacy.
- Protect your passwords, pins, and anything else that you can. Nothing is hack proof. But that doesn’t mean that you should leave your passwords lying around in plain sight. Nor should you use pins that are easy to figure out. If you are the type to write the passwords down, store it in a place that only you know. Don’t leave it in obvious places that someone else would look.
- Watch your credit score and your billing statements for unauthorized transactions. This is really important. Victims and survivors often have to watch these reports because money is the root of oppression. When we don’t have money, we can’t do much. When we do have money, we have many more options and a higher quality of life. Everyone seems to have their hands out for money. It’s really critical that you protect yourself not just personally but financially.
- Don’t be afraid to take some self defense classes. This is an area that when we have the skills to protect ourselves in a physical demeanor, that we have more confidence if we are attacked. That doesn’t mean we will always win. What it does mean is that when you gain confidence, you aren’t as easily intimidated and the lack of intimidation can help you to remain a survivor and not a victim.
- Don’t keep everything bottled up. Let’s face it. When we hold everything in, we are more susceptible to being victimized. In many ways, fear rears its ugly head and we are left to figure out how to deal with the emotions that are swelling up inside us. Be careful who you trust but don’t shut out the world. You don’t have to tell everything you know. You just have to make sure that you are doing things in balance.
As I’m writing this, I keep thinking back on all the times that I allowed others to make me feel like a victim. My voice became quiet for too long because I let the preppy kids make me feel that I was worthless. I let the fact that they had money make me feel like I should be penniless. It took a long time to understand that our worth is not about how much money we make or if we can provide nannies for our kids, or even living in an extravagant world. It’s about embracing our scars and allowing our tears to lead us on a journey of strength. The same things in this world that tear us down, can be the building blocks to a higher calling if we let it. Inspiration isn’t something that people are usually born with. It stems from things in our lives that create chaos and mayhem and are structured with lessons that give us the endurance to become something greater than we thought possible. Having choices in our lives are a blessing. There are places in this world that choices are made for a person. It could be from the family or other things. The point is that most of us are allowed to choose what direction our lives will take. We have the ability to empower ourselves and others and I truly believe that if we work with each other to learn how to protect ourselves and our loved ones, that we are stopping the cycle of victimization. Being a victim doesn’t define a person. What defines them is their spirit and their ability to bounce back from the negative forces that they endure.
Take time to research things that interest you. I love watching crime shows and I learn all kinds of things about how to prevent many different things from happening but there are no guarantees that everything I’ve seen always works. It does seem like the more we learn, the less we tend to be victimized. I know that when the IRS scam calls first started surfacing, it was good to know that they were scams. I get calls all the time from Technical Support telling me that my computer is infected and yet those calls were started when I didn’t even have a computer. Go figure. My point is simple. Keep up with what’s going on in the world. There are things happening with our gas pumps, our credit cards, our purchases, and many other things in our lives that are constantly being attacked with fraud. We choose how we handle those attacks. At the end of the day, it’s a really good feeling to know that we are getting control over the bad things that this world can dish out. In the meantime, protect yourself and your family by continuing to educate yourselves with different lessons. No one deserves to be a victim. Let’s show the world the survivors that lives within each one of us. Remember how much you are worth. Dollars don’t measure the worth of people. Actions do. It’s through these actions that we all shine.