Today's guest blog comes from some really powerful advocates for supporting survivors of abuse, the team at Surviving Abuse. We are thankful to them for the work they are doing, and for sharing their story here!
All of the admins at Surviving Abuse are survivors. We all know what it's like to be abused, most of us by long-term partners or spouses. We have also experienced abuse growing up in several cases. We know what it's like to feel alone with the abuse. We know what a relief it is the first time you hear someone else say they've been there too. And we feel no one deserves to suffer, but more than that, no one deserves to feel like they are the only one to have that experience. I have lost count of the messages we've received from people saying that our page has given them hope. And the ones saying that our posts helped them gather the courage to leave their abuser. Every time we get one of those messages, we celebrate, because we know that we have made a difference. Yes, we have a large number of people following our page, but it has never been about the numbers for any of us. The only reason the number matters is because that is how many people we have the potential to reach with our message.
I have said on many occasions that I love what I do, I hate only that it is necessary. However, for as long as it is necessary, I will continue to do it with love. And I feel confident in saying that the other admins feel the same way.
For those who wish to become warriors in this fight against abuse, some things you can do are support the shelters in your area. They are all almost always in need of pretty much everything, because most of the time the people coming into shelter left with only the clothes on their backs. So things like hygiene items, clothing, and paper goods are in high demand.
Some shelters are able to accommodate pets in addition to people, which is a wonderful thing, as many people are afraid to leave their abuser because they don't want to leave their pets behind. Those shelters often need pet food and other pet supplies. Contact the shelters in your area, and find out what their specific needs are.
Learn what the laws are in your city and state or country. Many of them are inadequate, especially with how much technology has advanced. Cyber stalking is not considered a crime in most states, and as such, is not grounds for a restraining order or an order of protection. Yet, it is a major source of fear, and is often a precursor to an act of violence.
If someone comes to you and says they are being abused, believe them and don't blame them. Help them research what their options are, as many times abusers will monitor usage of the internet and phones. If you are able to, offer them a safe place to stay in case of an emergency. Support them in any way you are capable and comfortable doing.
And if you should see or hear someone being abused, do something or say something. If you are not comfortable getting directly involved (which is completely understandable), call the police. Do *something*. We cannot afford to have the attitude of "It's not my business." Until everyone believes that abuse IS their business, true changes will not take place.
Surviving Abuse is a team of sixteen admins, all of whom contribute to the page as we are able. Most of us are involved in more than one abuse oriented page and/or project. At least two of us are going to school in order to get licenses and degrees that will allow us to work with survivors and victims as actual jobs that will pay us. Surviving Abuse and all the other pages we are passionate about are volunteer projects that we do for one very simple reason. We care.