By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
Stories are so powerful. Stories have the power to educate and inform. Stories have the power to evoke emotional reactions and make people think. Stories have the power to help people heal.
This month at See the Triumph, we’re focusing on the importance of the stories of survivors of intimate partner violence. There is a Native American proverb that says, “It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.” The overarching story we always want to tell through See the Triumph is that people can overcome past abuse and the stigma that surrounds it. However, we know that within this larger story, there are countless individual stories of abuse and triumph, and each of these individual stories is unique, meaningful, and important.
If you are a survivor of abuse, or if you have otherwise been touched by abuse (e.g., a close friend or family member experienced abuse), your story matters. Your story holds power. Of course, it’s so helpful to understand the general dynamics of abuse, such as the cycle of violence and the power and control tactics used by abusers. However, beyond these general dynamics, every person who has ever experienced an unsafe, abusive relationship has a rich, individual story to tell that is uniquely their own.
Maya Angelou once said, “There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” At See the Triumph, we believe in the importance of survivors having opportunities to tell their stories. This may be publicly, privately, and/or simply finding ways to tell your story to yourself in new ways, such as through journaling. We have three main messages to convey during our series this month, “Every Survivor Has A Story.” Those messages are:
First, every survivor has a unique, important story to tell.
Second, survivors should be supported in sharing their stories, whether publicly or privately.
And third, we can all learn a lot from the stories that survivors share with us.
Throughout August, we’ll be sharing some of the many stories we’ve heard from the participants in our research, all of whom had been in past abusive relationships but were out of any abusive relationships for at least two years. Their stories show how diverse people’s experiences with abuse can be.
We’re also planning some other special features, including posts by some of our contributors on how they’ve benefited from sharing their stories with others, as well as some suggestions for telling your own story.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts throughout this month, and beyond, on the power that survivors’ stories hold for unlocking the stigma surrounding intimate partner violence!