Imagine a relationship. In the beginning everything is wonderful. Opening doors, buying gifts, a honeymoon so to speak. Then all of a sudden, things change. There is verbal abuse — name calling; emotional abuse — mind games, manipulation; and the physical abuse — hitting, punching, pushing. The victim says they are going to leave and they start making a plan, but the batterer says, “No one will love you like I will” or “You are nothing without me,” so they stay. Time goes by and they leave again but come back, and this cycle continues for years and years. That is the dynamic of an abusive relationship. It is a vicious cycle of mind control, emotions, and will power. Fear and anxiety of the unknown are strong, and those feelings make leaving difficult. However, in the end there are survivors that overcome this experience and thrive successfully.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this blogette is here to encourage all victims and friends of victims in how to keep moving forward. Domestic violence is not permanent, nor is it a punishment. There are steps that can be taken and resources across the nation that can and will help survivors go from victim to victor.
Know that the abuse is not your fault.
There is nothing a person will ever do that makes them deserving of abuse in any form. When traumatic experiences happen, past or present, batterers will often try to push those experiences to the back burner, feelings included. Once they have successfully achieved that “numbness,” any trigger that recounts that trauma causes them to feel angry. That anger towards the trigger is then executed toward a person. But that is not that person’s fault.
Be empowered by yourself.
No matter the experience, you are still a beautiful and powerful individual. Self-affirmation and self-esteem are essential tools to have when transitioning from victim to victor. The nature of abusers is to tear their victims down, so it is important that in survivor mode you know how to empower yourself and be empowered!
Do not be afraid to seek help.
There are many resources available to help survivors overcome their traumatic experience. In Birmingham, the YWCA downtown offers free victim support groups for women and children. The groups educate, enlighten, and empower survivors on the dynamics of abuse as well as how to move forward from it. They also offer emergency shelter, residency assistance, as well as individual counseling at little to no cost. The YWCA creates a safe place for women to re-establish and re-invent themselves.
Share your story and raise awareness about abuse.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and all over the nation advocates are going purple. Birmingham is no different. The YWCA has launched their annual “In Her Shoes” campaign where survivors’ stories are written by them and displayed on canvas shoes. Each shoe is unique in its own right and tells the story of a sole survivor. The hope is that the women who write the stories feel empowered enough to share their journeys. The shoes are on display at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Mountain Brook.
As for advocacy, the YWCA goes glam with purple kisses. They challenge everyone for the month of October to pop on your best shade of purple lipstick and post it to Facebook . It is a great way to advocate for domestic violence awareness and show how good you look in purple lipstick! Are you down for the challenge? If so, upload that photo to Facebook today and tag the YWCA!
Going from victim to victor is a process and it CAN happen. Trust the process and celebrate the progress!