Poetry

Failures

“The worst thing you can do
to a victim of abuse is to tell them
how they’ve failed.”

Sometimes I wonder what happened to human decency. Or maybe it was a fictional, utopian belief that it once existed. Humility as a lost art. Empathy no more than myth. Especially when it comes to victims of abuse, society fails to understand them. Where they have learned the hard way what it means to be stripped of all their power — the power to speak, to fight back, to own anything or act on something — they are broken vessels of their former selves. So when they are finally free and have the opportunity to rebuild their lives, understand that this is a critical time for them. They need support. They need to feel like they matter. That what they feel or say matters. Not to repeat the same horrors. So tell a survivor how strong they are. Tell them they are important. Lift them up. And never tear them down.

The worst thing you can do to a victim of abuse is to tell them how they’ve failed.

© Sarah Doughty

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42 thoughts on “Failures”

  1. This is important. I’m glad you are saying it and speaking your words. Sometimes abuse is normalised in family and even wider cultures. I call them cultures of scapegoating. We all know the idiom “the black sheep in the family”. It can be very subtle. I will be writing more about this as well on my blog. It is so good to find one’s voice after years of silence… and healing…. then gratitude, freedom, courage and voice!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well said, Sarah…
    And superbly written.
    Only someone who had been through the spiraling currents & rough deep sea waters of abuse can write such an exact description & message of advice….
    Abuse is quite often the scars & marks of words left in a soul long after anyone else even remembers the “incident”.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I feel like that is exactly how some life long “friends” of mine have been treating me the last couple of years and it finally blew up…I am no longer friends with those people and I haven’t felt this happy in a long time!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well said! I hate that people look on others and immediately think “failure” because they aren’t living up to “their” idea of perfection performance goal setting or whatever. Abuse makes the climb not just challenging but a slogging uphill in mud to your knees kind of way. Thank you, Sarah, for making a valid imperative point!

    Liked by 3 people

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