Tomorrow I will be attending Take A Stand in Washington D.C., an event sponsored by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). This event marks the 30th anniversary of domestic violence awareness month and is meant to spread awareness about domestic violence and lobby for change. To say that this event holds a great deal of significance for me would be the understatement of the year. As a survivor of abuse and domestic violence, I have learned how much misunderstanding and ignorance there still is regarding the severity and impact of domestic violence. I have felt how suffocating it is to stay silent; how speaking the truth is so much more complicated than people want to believe; how difficult it really is to seek justice. And more than anything, I have learned just how prevalent these crimes really are.

I have spent the past year trying to deal with the aftermath of my abuse in just about every way possible – ignoring it, denying it, crying over it, being angry, and trying to “accept” what happened and move on. As friends and family had told me, I had to simply accept what he did, let it go, and get over it. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not seem to just forgive and forget. For quite a while, I thought this meant that I was failure – if I could not accept it, then I could not move forward with my life. However, I have since realized that this is not true at all. There is a reason I do not want to accept this – it is because what my abuser did to me, and what he has done to countless other women, is just not right.

And as I have learned this past year, there are so many women with stories of abuse and domestic violence. They are bloggers you meet on the Internet; they are your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your coworkers. Survivors are everywhere. But you would never know it because society imposes an invisible silence on victims though things like victim blaming, by favoring high status perpetrators such as sports players or celebrities, and of course, by maintaining all of the red tape and legal obstacles that come along with charging a perpetrator and trying to seek justice. And it is these downright disgusting tactics meant to shame, blame, and silence survivors that I will never just sit back and accept. I truly believe that silence is the driving force that allows these crimes to continue and allows abusers to simply get away with it.

I may not have gotten justice for what my abuser did to me, but I am also not bowing my head and accepting that this is just the way of the world. I will do everything I can to change this culture that encourages survivors to stay silent; this culture that teaches us that we as women can be used, abused, assaulted, violated, and degraded, and that we should just “get over it.” It has been one year since I walked away from my abuser and I am most definitely not over it. I have not forgotten what he did to me, what he has done to other women, and what women all around the globe have had to endure. And I pray to God that I will never be over it. Because the day that we start accepting all of this is the day that we refuse change. And the world needs a lot of change when it comes to issues like domestic violence. So, on this 30th anniversary of domestic violence awareness month, I encourage you to reject the attitude that this is just the way things are and we need to accept it and move on. I encourage you to break the silence, to use your voice, and to Take A Stand against domestic violence.

See you in Washington.

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11 thoughts on “Take A Stand

  1. Wow..only God understands genuinely how you feel, what you go through daily, the images that torments you daily, the fear whenever someone wants to come close, the way you still think about him even in your sleep. The shame that comes from knowing you still love the person. Dear, God understands it all. Seeking Justice or going for all this awareness program is very much good but it is like reawakening the same wound all over again. The bible says for your shame I will give you double. Just like he turned the harlot to a virgin in Christ. You are holding so much hurt. Jesus can heal you, take that heavy burden off you because he cares for you. With Jesus old things are passed away. You can be a new person again with Him. You are searching for peace and that is where you will find it, with Jesus

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  2. A brave and strong statement in a society that rather brush uncomfortable domestic violence under the carpet. You can’t just heal in a year or “get over it”. It is like telling someone with a deep grief the same.
    Maybe there will always be wounds but they will become scars. Covered with the beauty life will give you and all who dare believe again.
    You go girl
    Miriam

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  3. Dear speak766,
    The experience of trauma shapes our perception of ourselves and the life we are living. For me, in had power over every decision that I made. I did not know that this experience was the reason that felt the way I did every day. For 30 years I believed that I was broken and could not be fixed. I did not know that I was holding that experience as the measure of who I was and what I deserved for my life. I felt worthless, disposable and ashamed of my naivety.
    I was so blessed to have an experience with a friend who actually listened to my words and directed me to a practitioner who was skilled at letting my body tell my story. It was through this story telling that I was able to see how strong and fiercely independent I actually am. That my living through my trauma shaped me into the practitioner I am today. For this, I am grateful. I feel that I am able to create a space where healing can happen for others who have suffered trauma. I can empathize because I have lived experience. But I am not the healer. We all heal ourselves. What I can do is create a space where the healing can happen. I do not take on the beliefs and relive the worthlessness and shame in my own body when I hear someone else’s story. I listen with all of my awareness and, as non-judgmentally as possible, let the person feel what it is like for another person to acknowledge their pain and truly appreciate their presence. I had to make a decision about how I want to spend my time each day and I believe, for myself, these experiences heal me as much as them.
    It sounds like you are shaping your life with your trauma as the focus and surrounding yourself with others with shared experiences. You are a survivor and will have the opportunity to help others heal. To do this, we must truly believe that other people do not define who we are. We are all worthy of our dreams. What are your dreams?

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  4. You took the words out of my mouth. I was told I provoked my abuser. I was told to get help because I had mental issues. It was after receiving that email that started my site. I haven’t really figured it out yet, but there’s no way I am going to let him, his friends, his family, the cops, the common wealth attorney, the domestic abuse advocates who told me to think about his future to ever humiliate me again. What happened was his choice, not mine yet everyone, even those who are suppose to me on my side gave a pass to his behavior – After 11 months of being dizzy and nauseated I learned that as a result of the attack my right inner ear has been damaged. I still can’t drive. I have a hard time looking side to side or up and down – My vestibular system was completely thrown off, and I have no idea when it will be fixed. No way in hell am I going to stay quiet….I don’t know how but I am going to make this into a positive. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. You are completely right. The abuse was at his hands and was his doing. He has no right to silence your voice. Keep speaking. Much love – speak766

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