“I managed to get myself educated, get into counseling to deal with the issues and underlying issues of the abuse and work toward more healthy living. I also advocate for those who are still in abusive situations.” ~ Domestic violence survivor
“I have tried for years to become financially stable, while raising a child with no financial or physical help. I have not become financially stable, despite my good education, my excellent resume, and working full time and professionally. So, many likely still stigmatize me. I, however, know how hard I work, and how well I raise my child, and have come to realize that our economy and our society is not designed for women, single mothers, and survivors to become successful. Thus, i have refocused what i consider to be ‘success.’ I live in a strong and vibrant community of parents and friends, I am providing my son with an excellent home and education, I prioritize living ethically and having time for my family over working... once you redefine success outside of the traditional paradigms, you can abandon the stigma projected on you.” ~ Domestic violence survivor
In this last week of our 31 Days of Stories series, we’re sharing stories that we hope will be inspiring and encouraging for you. These stories are from research participants who have taken their past experiences with abuse and used them to fuel positive changes in their own lives and in the world around them. To start off this week, please read the following quote:
“You may have trials and hurdles to overcome and for a while after leaving an abusive relationship but a violent free life is the most wonderful and blessed time that you will ever experience… Happiness, security, and love is out there and is waiting for you to embrace it and live it. And there are many agencies, clubs, groups and people who can teach you the tools and knowledge and support to live a happy healthy and prosperous life. And there are many people like myself who know can call themselves a survivor not a victim and will help you achieve that. I am one that will setup directions and resources, encourage you, pass on the tools I have obtained just because my life is complete if only one person finds the happiness and violent free life that I have obtained. I know there are more people like me in this world that have my belief and feel happy and complete.” ~ Domestic violence survivor
“Basically I just learned to love myself and see myself as a survivor and strong instead of a victim and weak. I really embraced my past experiences, both good and bad, and came to an understanding that they have made me who I am today. I am also an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse and through therapy and self-reflection I have come to understand how my abusive relationship was tied to the unresolved feelings I had about that. Now I just look back and think about all life has thrown my way and how I'm still standing and going strong and I have a great husband and a wonderful child and the life I always wanted. I feel blessed and strong and I am not stigmatized anymore. I have no problem telling people about my past experiences with abuse because I am no longer ashamed of the incidents, I don't let the abuse define me.” ~ Domestic violence survivor
“I changed myself from the inside out. I sought my own happiness and confidence through my accomplishments, not the opinions of others. I went back to school, gained new employment, and joined new activities in order to re-establish socialization and eventually friendships. I personally saw a counselor and came to a place where I forgave myself/let go of self-blame.” ~ Domestic violence survivor
The infographic below, created by guest blogger, Samantha Osborne, demonstrates the financial impact of domestic violence on communities.
Samantha Osborne graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a double major in Sociology and Interpersonal and Organizational Communication. After graduation, she has completed a certificate in Nonprofit Management at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and she is currently pursuing a Masters in Couples and Family Counseling.
“I finally started sharing my experience with other people. I am no longer afraid that my ex-husband will find out & hurt me. It's taken me years to get to this point but it's a major relief! Just sharing on this website gives me a huge sense of empowerment. I've also learned I’m not alone & can lean on others for support. I’m loved for the first time in my life and it's a wonderful feeling!!!!!” ~ Domestic violence survivor