An unusual choice of words.
I’m listening to NPR (National Public Radio) this morning. They’re reporting on the Pope’s private meetings with sexual abuse “survivors.”
While I certainly don’t mean to take anything away from the situation — children and young people molested or sexually abused by Catholic priests they trusted — the term survivor seems a little extreme as a label for these now grown people. The first definition of survivor in the dictionary that’s part of Mac OS X is:
a person who survives, esp. a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died : the sole survivor of the massacre.
And that’s how I usually think of a survivor. Consider the phrases Hurricane Katrina survivor, cancer survivor, Titanic survivor. Surely you can come up with others.
But the dictionary goes on to offer the following alternative definition for survivor:
the remainder of a group of people or things : a survivor from last year’s team.
a person who copes well with difficulties in their life : she is a born survivor.
Indeed: either of these definitions would apply to these unfortunate people.
What do you think? Is the term survivor an appropriate label for these people? Can you come up with a better label? Perhaps one you heard or read in the media? As someone interested in words, I’m curious.