I Am a Survivor of Domestic Violence
If you know me, you would’ve heard my journey as a survivor of domestic violence. In short, “he” was my first love, the boy who I thought I would build my American dream with. Shortly after being together, I experienced my first attack. He lied to me, and when I confronted him on the lie, he boldly denied it and slapped me across my face– all this happened in his mother’s house with his mother in the next room. Needless to say, in the course of 9 years, the boundaries between love and abuse were blurred, and little-by-little I lost the sense of who I was and my value.
Most people are surprised when I tell them that I am a survivor of domestic violence, but what they don’t know is that in every surprise reaction I receive, I hear in my head, “You should’ve known better.” In order to deal with the guilt and shame surrounding my abuse, I turned to therapy and mindful practices. However, it wasn’t until I allowed myself to share my story with other survivors did I finally digest my trauma into a lesson of “Trust yourself.” Storytelling finally grounded my spirit and body: 10 years after leaving “him,” I finally felt the wholeness of my heart.
I felt human again when I walked into a women’s support group and they processed my intake. The legal intake of my incident was scary, but the act of documenting the abuse made it official: I am a survivor of domestic violence. I felt seen and heard in a way that I could no longer deny. I could no longer excuse the wound that was left by this person who intentionally hurt me. Retelling my story to the the attorney liberated the young girl in me who felt like she was not good enough. This was the beginning for me.
I met weekly with the women of the support group. Most of the women were from underrepresented communities and often escaped their abusive situation with their children. The spirit of sharing was welcomed, and without knowing it, the women in that group became my heroes. Through the stories of their heroic journeys from being in love to being abused to staying for the kids to finally “I have to leave to live,” I felt their spirit connected with my spirit. I felt that I had the permission to be better - to reclaim my own voice and essence as a woman. For safety reasons I can’t name the support group, but to them and all the allies, thank you.
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