October is Domestic Violence awareness month. Although, this is a year-round thing for me being a survivor of both emotional and physical violence.
Had I known the red flags and resources available to me when I needed them most, things could have been different and I would have left much sooner. This wasn’t the case so it is my Mission to be a voice to victims and a resource, so they don’t get caught up in a similar situation, or to prevent an emotional or physical abusive situation all-together.
Here are my tips, as a survivor, that I wish my friends and family had known and understood while I went through my situation.
1. I couldn’t “just leave.”
If it was that simple I would have.
Financially– When you’re not allowed to create a means of savings, have a vehicle, or hold a job, it was impossible to leave. Even if I had somewhere to go, how could I have afforded it?
Safety– Once someone decides to leave an abusive situation, especially a physical one, your chances of getting killed is increased by 75%. I had to tread lightly and make sure I had a full fleshed plan before making any final decisions.
Since an abuser keep tabs on who, what and where you go, it is difficult as a victim to do research on how to get out of the relationship/situation. Because of this, I didn’t know there were resources out there for me. I hope to change that.
2. Be there for me.
Please don’t get aggravated with the person you love who is in an abusive relationship. It can take time to admit to yourself what is really going on. Be there for them by letting them know they have a safe place to go or a safe person to talk to without judgement.
Those that heard me rant about the bad days, I appreciate you more than you can imagine. Although I didn’t tell you everything, being able to get the anger and anxiety out helped me emotionally. Especially the encouragement to push through and to know that I have a lot to offer the world, despite the opposite I heard on a daily basis.
When I was ready to leave, some people close to me did what they could to help. Others who could have helped more, didn’t. In the end, things worked out and I found a place to live.
3. Sometimes we don’t even realize the situation we’re in and it’ll take time, longer than you and I would like, to realize it.
Physical abuse is just one form of domestic violence. The relationship can start out great at first, but once they know they “have you” things change drastically. As if out of nowhere… Squeezes to the arm or leg when around others to keep me “in line.” Which leave bruises where they can’t be seen. Others aren’t so luckily and end up at work with black eyes, cuts and scrapes so excuses of “falling” come up. Victims that end up in the hospital, I can’t even imagine how they feel.
Emotional Abuse can take longer to see the red flags. After being in a physically abusive relationship, it took me a long time to realize, then admit to myself, that I was being manipulated.
4. Believe the victim.
Just because the abuser seems to be friendly, attend church, is a member of the community, etc. doesn’t always mean they have a very dark side behind closed doors.
Society has made victims out to be “deserving” of these horrendous situations and it is certainly NOT the case. Blame the person who is DOING the hurting, NOT being hurt.
This is why more victims don’t speak up or feel we can trust anyone enough to say anything. We are scared to be judged, not taken seriously, or wonder if the “system” has our back.
Give anyone willing to speak up the safe zone of talking to you.
5. I’m stronger because of what I’ve gone through
I don’t want your pity. Yes, what I had gone through was horrible and maybe you think I should have left sooner, but what matters NOW is that I’ve come out the other side. I’m a survivor! Hear me roar as I want to be the voice and resource I didn’t know I had.
It’s been just over a year since I left my abusive relationship and started my life over. It’s also the happiest I’ve ever been.
At Damsel in Defense, we believe that awareness is key to changing social stigmas and bringing an end to social stigmas. Equip yourself and your loved ones with our exclusive Purple DVA Bundle.
Purchase a Purple Sock It To Me Striking Tool, a Black Breakaway Keychain Lanyard, a Purple Heidi Way Concealed Carry Purse, and a Joy Soft Shelly for only $100!
This Purple DVA Bundle is available beginning September 15, 2017 at 9:00am PST through October 31, 2017 at 11:59pm PST, or while supplies last.
If you have questions or want more information, please contact me. I’ll help any way I can.
Be sure to sign up for my email list to stay updated on announcements, tools, resources and my journey as a DV survivor.