A survivor originally referred to a person who managed to live through a life-threatening event (e.g. the Holocaust, breast cancer, Hurricane Katrina), often with severe physical injuries and the loss of one's worldly goods.
In modern times survivor is a term people call them themselves to indicate that they experienced something unpleasant (e.g. rape, someone else's death, or stubbing your toe). It is a way of saying your problems are more severe than other people's that don't rise to survivor level. If you can successfully lobby to get people to call you by that label, then it's like you've been officially recognized as having been through some serious shit, and you therefore deserve special treatment.
Rape survivors on YouTube
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