Numerous people have asked me how I fill my time during summer vacation. They generally inquire about an internship or some fabulous vacation. I will confess to you all now that neither are the case. Rather, I spend each and every day eagerly watching "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit." While I do love the action and drama, the real reason I return is Detective Olivia Benson. Rarely in television is there a powerhouse, confident, and compassionate lead who is also a woman. Detective Benson not only preaches courage, she embodies it. Here are the main things Benson has taught me:
1. Remember that you are not alone.
Benson assumes the role of confidant and ally in nearly every episode. She encourages us all to remember that we are never alone and to utilize our support systems. Benson once said, “Healing begins when someone bears witness. I saw you. I believe you.” Allow people to help you to heal and overcome struggles. It sometimes feels like we must deal with our burdens alone but, Olivia reminds us that we don’t.
2. Fight for what you believe in.
Olivia advocates for victims, her community, and herself in every episode. Benson doesn’t always win but she always tries. It can be tenacious work to fight for a cause but, if it’s important to you, you must. Benson exemplifies the struggle, reward, and necessity of standing up for what’s right.
3. Choose survival
Detective Benson constantly reminds us that we must keep surviving and cannot fall victim to our lives. She encourages us all to confront our trauma rather, than avoid it. Sometimes problems feel too huge to face. But, Benson reminds us, that we have overcome a lot and that we can survive anything. She says to one victim of an assault, “You know what I’ve seen? Is that people who have gone through unfair, horrific experiences, is that they have this will, and when they get support, a chance, they can not only survive, they can thrive.”
4. Don’t let bad experiences make you jaded.
Benson refuses to let her work make her detached. She commits fully to each case and engages with each victim. She also manages trust others and have meaningful relationships. It can be challenging love after a heartbreak or continue to try after a defeat. But, Olivia reminds us that we cannot let the past dictate our future.
5. There are still good guys.
The world is extremely chaotic and a lot of bad things happen. Watching Detective Benson advocate for victims and fight for justice reminds us to remember the heroes. While there will always be antagonists, there will also always be helpers. In a world of injustice, Benson gives us a hero.