Is “Victim” the Right Word?

Words have power and meaning. Cancer patients after their treatment are “survivors.” So are those sexually assaulted. It implies strength. Victimhood implies disempowerment, helplessness, and weakness.

I suggest we consider replacing “victim” with “aggrieved.” Someone that a criminal has wronged. Someone with a grievance. Someone, as “grieve” also implies, has suffered.They have a grievance against the aggressor, with the protest and anger that that might imply.

This isn’t going to change crime statistics, nor reduce the suffering of those assaulted, burgled, mugged, or scammed. But it changes that person, in description, as someone not weak or disempowered, but as someone against whom a wrong has been done that must be righted.


ROTFLOLing and memetics

Just a quick pointer to a blog I posted about language changes being decried by American linguists. Where we used to have words change flavor and meaning, such as “Gay” going from happy to queer (which used to mean odd), we now are integrating shocking, non-mellifluous acronyms like YMMV instead of the good old, red-blooded ones like scuba and radar.

Technology has been at the forefront of linguistic change since it’s emergence as a consumer tool. Our transition from the Information Age to the Knowledge Age continues this trend with words like data-mining, blogging and podcasting.

Our ability to transmute reality is the core motivator to the transformation of language and the universal adoption, across languages, of their defining lexicon.