One of the participants in our study said, “I began using the word ‘abusive’ to describe my relationship with my husband, and the behavior that caused me to end the marriage. While others may be uncomfortable with that word, I think it's important to not minimize what occurred.”
As this participant says, sometimes others may be uncomfortable with the words that survivors use to describe their experiences. And yet, in what ways do you believe that naming abusive behaviors as "abuse" can be helpful for survivors?
Many of the participants in our studies mentioned how powerful it was for them to share their stories with others as part of their process of overcoming their abuse and the stigma surrounding it.
For example, one participant said, "Just sharing my story has been cathartic. It has been important for me to tell others that abuse is not just physical; most abuse is actually emotional. Emotional abuse is also something important to recognize.”
Another participant said, "“I chose to share my experience with a therapist and select friends in my life instead of keeping it a secret.”
We believe it is important for survivors who choose to share their stories do so in a way that feels safe and meaningful to them. For some, this may mean being very public about their experiences, while others may choose more private ways of sharing. Sharing one's story can be very powerful, but each person can determine if and how to do so in way that makes sense to them and their circumstances.
Accessing support via the Internet seems to be valuable to many survivors of intimate partner violence. For example, two of our participants said they turned to on-line support as they recovered from their abuse: