Hmm... In biology they talk about lumpers and splitters. Like if you look at two birds who are basically identical in every way (behavior, morphology, habitat) except one has yellow shading on the back and the other red. Do you lump them as one species or split them? I know my thinking has always been more of a lumping thought process.
So, if you'd asked me to answer off the cuff, about the difference between victim, survivor, and innocent I would have said they were all the same really. Just different shadings. But, having read this thread I keep getting tangled up on "innocent". Like a child who is abused is maybe innocent in a way a first responder isn't? But then I could put so many qualifiers on that. Like a young first responder who is put into situations way beyond their training, are they then innocent? And that can circle me around because if innocence is based on what you know and have been prepared for, maybe a child can reach a point where they aren't innocent. And that's my own personal tangles upon tangles and not meant to be a judgement or apply to anyone else.
This is an interesting thread. I think I read through pretty much all of the posts, and people had different angles that made me think more about this. The way I interpret "innocent" in regards to victimization is kind of in the accountability sense. Someone who is victimized is not accountable for the assault or violation. I was completely innocent of the abuse I suffered at the hands of my parents and do not hold myself responsible for it. But I think @Friday 's revelation is insightful in terms of how we confuse the two. It seems way too natural to tie victimhood and innocence together almost indistinguishably, but I can easily see that being a problem. I agree with those who are saying that they don't see being a victim as controversial, but perpetuating victimhood as an ongoing identity is not good.There is a lot of research that shows abusers often see themselves as the victim and see their abuse against others as "self-defense". They probably were victimized as children themselves, and by continuing to identify with that, they exonerate and excuse themselves no matter what horrible thing they do. Because they are perpetually "innocent".
I prefer not to see myself as any of those words, those labels may be useful in certain contexts like victim and survivor but don't die on that hill. Yes I may be technically a survivor and a victim (taking innocence into a context and I believe you could have a whole discussion on that topic as it is) but there's more to it and considering all of that drops a lot of weight from those labels. See when you label yourself too much you unconsciously put yourself in a box and that box is. very self limiting. That's a big part of recovery for me, removing those subconscious blocks and being more open to new ideas and perspectives while still retaining individuality. I also know we're all playing a game here, we're like characters in a movie all with different roles. It's not as back and white. There's not just victims and attackers, there's a bigger picture and understanding that makes thins easier.