Sadly, abuse is such an enormous feature in the world nowadays, and one that affects everyone. What can we do about abuse? What needs to happen if we want to see it eradicated, rather than simply being lived with and tolerated? Why does it seem so difficult to eradicate abuse, of all sorts, from our lives?
One of the major problems we are faced with is that much of the focus is simply on the abusive behaviour, rather than trying to address the bottom line of what has actually led to the abuse in the first place. All too often, people simply clamour for the authorities to increase the police force, get convictions and put the offenders behind bars, for as long as possible. It is as though the old adage of "out of sight, out of mind", still has us in its grasp, or, in other words, "Don't bother me, this is someone else's problem. I pay my taxes and am entitled to live in a society that is free from crime."
Yet abuse, or crime in general, IS our problem, and each and every one of us bears some responsibility for it.
To put this another way, we are all a part of the problem. It is simply not possible to be a part of a community that is plagued by crime and to claim that we are just innocent bystanders without any responsibility. Some people may correctly stand up and say "Look, but I don't rob people!" Yet some ways of stealing can be more subtle than others, and if we are totally honest, we can see that they still amount to stealing. These ways can range from taking stationery from work, doing personal business in your work time, to stealing time from your family, by keeping yourself busy with other outside activities, to stealing from your staff, by underpaying them. There are, in fact, countless ways in which we can steal. But if you are confronted by crime in your life, it IS there - you need only look for it, and you will find it. If you really cannot find it, then ask yourself in what ways are you supporting crime in your life? Almost every abuser or criminal has someone who is silently supporting them - a mother, father, brothers, sisters, other relatives, friends, anyone who knows what is going on, but who just doesn't speak up.
Nevertheless, irrespective of whether we are discussing theft, or abuse, or any type of crime, the principles remain the same, and these are that there are no accidents in life, and there are no victims. We all have our part to play in whatever happens to us, and therefore we are always just as guilty as someone who has committed a wrong against us.
In The Toltec Teachings - Volume IV, Théun Mares expresses these points in the following way:
"If you choose to believe that you are a victim, then indeed you are a victim, and I fully agree with you that you are a victim. Therefore there is nothing further to discuss. If, on the other hand, you choose to be a warrior, rather than a victim, then realize that you are responsible for whatever happens in your life. If you walk across the road, and someone runs you down with his car, then you are just as guilty as the one who ran you down. First of all, you decided to cross the road at that particular moment. You could have crossed somewhere else, or you could have crossed later, or you could have crossed faster or slower. In short, you could have been more alert. Secondly, realize that although man-made law will essentially be on your side, these petty laws will not relieve you of the fact that you are guilty of having damaged that person's car, and of the fact that he might even be found guilty of negligent driving.
Likewise, if you are raped, it is because you needed that experience. Perhaps it was to teach you humility. Perhaps it was to teach you what it is to be humiliated. Perhaps it was to teach you something about your behaviour. In other words, what could you have done to attract rape? If you are extremely sexy, or pretty, or like to advertise your sex appeal, then take responsibility for it. If on the other hand, your attitude towards others is so snooty that someone felt the need to humiliate you with rape, then you must likewise accept responsibility for this. Furthermore, accept the fact that if the rapist is caught and jailed, or perhaps even sentenced to death, you will be guilty of that man's sentence, even though thousands will hail the justice of the courts, and will flock to your defence.
In the examples I have given, I can already hear the angry wails of the 'victims' of this world. However, remember that I have not said that a rapist has any justification for raping another being, neither have I claimed that a driver has any right to drive recklessly. But, by the same token, neither does someone have the right to make another person guilty of rape by calling forth a rape, or to make a driver guilty of negligent driving by calling forth a driver that is either half asleep or just plain reckless."
To our normal, socially-conditioned view of life, these may appear to be challenging concepts to grasp and take on board. Yet, what are the implications of NOT working with them? Because crime and lawlessness show every sign of increasing, rather than abating, the possible consequences are dire, and will lead to two polarities of existence. On the one hand, a society in which the average individual feels ever more powerless, having no impact on life, constantly at the mercy of circumstances, forever blaming others, unable to take action, and therefore increasingly despairing and apathetic, (i.e. the victims of humanity), while on the other hand, we will see the arrogant, self-righteous, bigoted bullies, forever imposing their wills on other people, usually through some "good cause" or other, but by addressing the symptoms, rather than the causes, failing to bring about any real change, (i.e. the victimizers of humanity). These polarities must come into being as an inescapable result of the projection of victim-consciousness out into the world.
One example of a "good cause" failing to bring about any real change, can be seen in the USA, in which immediate steps were taken to set up special investigation and prosecution assistance units, when child abuse was first recognized as being rampant in the 1970's. Yet today, in spite of a successful track record of prosecutions and convictions, child abuse is still absolutely rampant and has not been stemmed.
Where do we go from here? Towards a world that is falling apart from inertia and apathy, or towards a fragmented world of suspicion and terror, in which secret police are watching our every thought and movement, just in case we should commit a crime - a world of Big Brother?
There IS another way - a hope that is held out by the Toltec teachings, of a new world in which men and women are strong enough to take responsibility for what is happening in their lives - a world in which men and women are open enough to accept that they too have a part to play in whatever happens to them, to their families, their communities, their countries, knowing that they too have impact and that they too can make a difference - a world in which men and women are courageous enough to see what they don't like out there, and to start changing it in themselves; or to see what behaviour they don't like in themselves, and then to take the necessary action to change it, knowing that their actions will affect all of those around them.
One of the greatest obstacles towards creating this new world is the victim mentality, and this mentality is steadily growing in the public awareness, reinforced day in and day out, by the media, the insurance companies, the legal system, and the governments.
Yet, through the Toltec teachings, it is possible for us all, individually, and together, to learn to be bold and make the leap towards ending the myth of victimhood.