By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
New Year’s Day marked the two-year anniversary of See the Triumph. When we launched See the Triumph on January 1, 2013, we were entering into uncharted waters, and looking back, I don’t think we ever could have envisioned the many blessings and challenges we’ve faced along the way...so far. And “so far” is the key--we are proud to reach this two-year milestone, but we know that our work is really just getting started.
Our work has just begun because the stigma surrounding intimate partner violence (IPV) is so pervasive. Thankfully, there are many other individuals and organizations working every day to challenge the stigma surrounding IPV:
Every time a survivor shares their story with others, whether publicly or in one-on-one conversations, the stigma is challenged.
Every time a friend or family member reaches out to help someone they care about who is facing abuse, the stigma is challenged.
Every time a community organization holds events or shares resources about domestic violence, the stigma is challenged.
And every time a national advocacy organization works on a campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence, the stigma is challenged.
We view our work with See the Triumph as part of the fabric of these larger efforts at the local, national, and global levels. We remain committed to an ongoing program of research and advocacy efforts to understand, address, and ultimately end the stigma surrounding IPV. When we first stated See the Triumph, we were focused primarily on disseminating our research. As we’ve grown and built important relationships and connections with survivors, advocates, and others, we’ve come to see the advocacy work as most central to our work with See the Triumph.
We first were inspired to create See the Triumph because of the powerful stories we heard from participants in our research. Now that our research has grown to include hundreds of survivors across multiple studies, we continue to be inspired and learn so much from each new participant in our research, as well as from the many survivors, advocates, and others who’ve become part of our See the Triumph community across our various social media platforms. Although we can’t respond individually to everyone who contacts us, we try to respond to as many as we can manage, and we appreciate every kind and supportive person who we’ve heard from who has encouraged us to continue our work.
As I reflect on our first two years, and especially on this month’s theme of “Transformative Approaches to Ending Domestic Violence and Abuse,” I remember why we started See the Triumph to begin with. The stigma surrounding IPV is a major problem that has implications for survivors (including while they are in the relationship and afterward), professionals who work with them, and organizations that serve survivors and work to hold offenders accountable.
More broadly, the stigma around IPV has detrimental effects for the society as a whole. The costs of IPV on society are high and affect virtually every social system and organization in our communities. The stigma surrounding IPV keeps this issue hidden despite these costs, and it prevents effective responses and preventive efforts from becoming widespread. And, the stigma makes it more difficult for individual survivors to get the support they need to move toward safe, healthy, nonviolent lives and relationships.
The further along we’ve gotten with See the Triumph, the more I’m convinced of the need to end the stigma surrounding IPV in order to really transform the way that violence is prevented and addressed in our society. Looking ahead to our third year and beyond, we’re excited to continue building upon what we’ve started these first two years. We have plans for expanding in new directions this coming year, but we also remain committed to the heart of the work we started with--sharing the inspiring stories of strength and triumph that survivors share with us through our research.
We hope you’ll continue to share your ideas, successes, challenges, and triumphs with us as we move into our third year with See the Triumph! Your support means so, so much to us. We know the work ahead of us remains large. But we are so thankful to all of you who have supported us, partnered with us, and connected with us around our goal of transforming our society into one that wraps survivors of abuse with support and care and that is free from stigma surrounding IPV and other forms of abuse.