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Victim or Victor

Over the years I have spoken to some people in the community who feel victimized because of their diagnosis of hepatitis C. It doesn’t sound the same with everyone and this is not surprising knowing we all deal with things differently. One thing that stands out is that people who do express this sentiment usually feel there is an event, person, or agency responsible for their hepatitis C.

Who Is At Fault?

Whether it’s the military, blood products prior to testing, a medical situation, at birth, or a person not disclosing their status when engaging in activity that carries a risk, the issue is about responsibility. Blaming oneself is sometimes what I hear, and nobody should carry that burden.

Regardless of how you contracted hep C, you do not deserve to be victimized. My question is whether this is a necessary or productive direction for any of us outside of any legal liability that may be about justice or a way to assure future care and access to treatment as with a clinic, lab, or in the case of the longstanding claims against providers of the blood supply. In some cases there have been class-action suits brought against the offender, to claim compensation and ultimately responsibility.

In these cases it is fair to say that you have been victimized in my view, whether or not it was done in a purposeful way or through the negligence of others or agencies responsible. This is not legal advice, and if you feel victimized in this way you should seek out counsel, just like you would seek out medical advice from a medical professional.

If one feels like a victim in other ways, it is something different to me. I know people who feel like life has been unfair to them, and it can look very different again depending on our life experience.
Some believe society has made them a victim because of stigma, and here we are again with our companion with hep C (stigma).

Choose to Be the Victor, Not the Victim

Like I have said many times before I see stigma as discrimination, and I have tried to dig into what that means to me, and my own perspective is also based on what I hear in community. Being discriminated against can take different forms, and many of us with hep C have felt its result.

Some will say “I am no victim” and I get it. I am not comfortable with self-identifying as a “victim”.
It depends on our own personal feelings about what the word “victim” represents. Personally I do not feel victimized in life. I feel like there have been times when I was treated or judged unfairly, but mostly it was based on ignorance and we can argue whether ignorance excuses bad behavior, but is it productive? Sometimes people make judgements without really understanding much about the person or the circumstances around a person’s experience. This is unfair, and we hope that more education and better understanding will make positive change. I prefer that we feel like victors or winners, and not in any competition, just life, health and wellness.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.