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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

19 September 2018: Jon Piper, Hope Church

There is No Glamour in Victimhood

A few years ago, I finished working for Victim Support, a charity which supports victims of crime.

There’s currently a perception of victimhood as possessing a certain glamour about it, with respect being given to those who can claim to have been offended in any given situation. The word ‘trauma’ seems to have been sapped of meaning and has become a synonym for ‘I didn’t like that very much’. When I see the perceived victimhood, trauma and outrage of those involved in identity politics or at the extremes of the Brexit debate, I’m irritated on behalf of my former clients.

My clients were the victims of extremely serious crime and almost all of them suffered with diagnosable symptoms of trauma as a result. As well as personal loss and hurt, most suffered financial loss and painful disturbance to their lives from which they would not recover. While the crimes affecting my clients tended to make the press, any risk of glamour amid their pain was unthinkable.
Society as a whole didn’t tend to have much time or interest in these victims, which is an issue that goes back through the millennia. I listened to a conversation with Tom Holland, the historian, yesterday in which he said that victims were even less well treated by the Romans. Victims in the Roman era were to be shunned, spat at, enslaved and treated in the worst possible way. They were the dregs of society, for whom the shame of crucifixion was reserved if they were perceived as harmful to the state.

Jesus’ victimhood, in this regard, is especially mind blowing. He experienced genuine victimhood and trauma through his torture and execution in which he identified with the societal dregs. But this Biblical scene is also the one in which He is most clearly portrayed as King. Without glamour or honour, Jesus subverted social perceptions of victimhood.

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