By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
Our two main goals at See the Triumph are to end the stigma surrounding intimate partner violence and to develop resources to support survivors. As many members of our See the Triumph community already know, the See the Triumph campaign grew out of our research, which began with a focus on whether and how survivors of past intimate partner violence experienced stigma related to their abuse.
Although we were initially interested mainly in the topic of stigma, what we heard from the survivors who participated in our research also provided a powerful glimpse into survivors’ experiences of moving beyond--triumphing over--the past abuse they’d experienced. In order to participate in our research, all survivors had to have been out of any abusive relationships for at least two years. This fact alone challenges a common stereotype that victims move from one abusive relationship to another, destined to repeat the same patterns of abuse. The stories we heard from the participants in our research provided many, many illustrations of the fact that people can overcome past abuse and go on to build safe, nonviolent lives and relationships.
As a follow-up to our original research, we recently conducted another study, in which we specifically asked a new group of participants to describe their experiences of overcoming past abuse. We learned so much from this study, and this theme of overcoming past abuse is our focus for our April series for See the Triumph.
Readers probably already know that April is both Child Abuse Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Thus, the theme of overcoming past abuse is important this month because survivors of all forms of abuse can face a long and challenging, yet ultimately rewarding, process of overcoming the trauma they’ve experienced. In addition, we know that there are often overlaps between different forms of abuse. Even though we recognize specific types of abuse during the various awareness months, we know that intimate partner violence, child abuse, and sexual assault can often overlap. Thus, we hope that our focus on overcoming abuse this month is relevant to people who have faced any type of abuse, and that the insights from the survivors of intimate partner violence who we’ll feature during the month will resonate with survivors of other types of abuse.
We look forward to hearing from you throughout the month with your own ideas about what it means to overcome past abuse. Check back often to our blog this month, as every day we'll be sharing a survivor's thoughts on what it means to overcome past abuse. We’re so inspired by the lessons we’ve learned about overcoming abuse from the survivors who’ve shared their stories with us, and we hope you will be, too!