Almost immediately following a sexual assault blame is placed, generally on the victim. Blame is placed on the victim by her attacker, by the media, possibly by friends and family, and by herself.
For the longest time after I was raped I blamed myself. It lured me into this false sense of security. If I had fought harder and screamed louder then I could have stopped him. If I could have stopped him then I can stop it from happening again. Shifting blame to the attacker forces the victim to acknowledge that they were completely and utterly powerless. That is a very scary place to be.
The issue of blame is a big reason I choose to identify as a rape victim rather than a rape survivor. Don't get me wrong, I am a survivor. I survived and I continue to. However, I think when we try to tell victims that they shouldn't call themselves victims it takes some blame away from the attacker. He is able to be forgotten.
I understand that "victim" is not as cheerful as "survivor," but rape is not cheerful. We need to face reality as it is. I became a rape victim the day a man bigger and older than me decided to use me as a toy for his amusement. I am not turning myself into a victim by not "reclaiming" my trauma. He did that.
Identifying as a victim not a survivor does not mean that I will not go on to live a wonderful life and accomplish many things. It simply means that I am choosing to start and end the blame with my attacker.