We’ve written before about how many survivors find it empowering to share the stories of their past abuse with other people. We know that this can be a really empowering step for many survivors, and sharing stories also can help to overcome the stigma and stereotypes surrounding abuse.
However, we also believe it’s important that each person decide if, how, and when to share his or her story with others.
For example, one of our study participants said:
“On the rare occasions that I have mentioned that I’ve been in an abusive relationship, I’ve gotten some very negative feedback. I had one woman tell me, ‘I think women who get hit probably did get hit because they deserve it.’ So I’m really, I’m very, very selective of who I tell those types of things to. If I share those things, because I know I will experience stigma if I let people know.”
If you are a survivor and are considering sharing your story with others, consider how you might feel if, after sharing your story, you heard a response such as that one. Some people feel very comfortable sharing their stories publicly and would not let negative feedback get to them, while other people would be very hurt by such statements and could even feel retraumatized by them.
The decision to share one’s story with others (publicly and/or privately) is a very personal one, and we encourage everyone to support each survivor in making the best decisions for him- or herself.