Domestic violence survivors shared their stories in three books, Broken to Brilliant, Terror to Triumph and Shattered to Shining. A key theme that featured strongly in these 32 stories and helped survivors to rebuild their lives was having Support.
Can’t do it alone
It is not possible to escape domestic violence and rebuild your life all by yourself. Yes, there are times when you will be alone, or you feel like you are doing it all by yourself. Also, there will be times when the system that is meant to provide support makes the situation worse.
Regardless, to get out, stay out and move forward and rebuild our lives, we all need support.
Types of support
I have reflected on the different types of support I needed to get through the ups and serious downs in life.
Thinking back, I needed a lot of professional support to keep my family safe while breaking free. We had local police, detectives and specialist police domestic violence services, women’s legal services, psychologists, and a women’s refuge. Having a professional to talk to such as a psychologist or counsellor is an ongoing support I need.
Groups and interests
Attending a domestic violence women’s group helped me to understand what was happening and it also connected me to other survivors, who have become lifelong friends.
Not all groups need to be focused on abuse. We need lighthearted laughter and activities that feed our soul and lift our spirit. I found connecting with exercise, walking and mums groups helped to make me feel like I had a place to belong.
Friends and family
Having family and friends who believe us, care for us, and are there as a backstop, is imperative. Unfortunately, not all family and friends will be on our side. Perpetrators can manipulate family, friends, and the system.
Due to this manipulation, recognising who is the right support for you is imperative.
Survivors need Justice
JUSTICE is the type of support I needed to help me and my family escape the abuse and deal with the ongoing long-term aftermath of trauma. Justice stands for:
Judgment - no judgement towards me, the situation, or how I and my children are responding to the trauma.
Understanding - I have found it easier to communicate with a person who has also experienced abuse as they truly understand what I am going through – my confusion, anxiety, fear, reactiveness, defensiveness, lack of confidence and other trauma responses.
Safe – they will make me feel safe and secure in their company.
Trust – I will be able trust their knowledge and professionalism, and can believe they are working in my best interests.
Integrity – because of the duplicity experienced during abuse, I need supporters who are honest and consistent with strong ethical values.
Confidentiality – I know they will keep what I say to them in complete confidence. It will not be shared with others.
Empathy – when someone provides me with empathy I feel seen, I feel heard and I feel believed. I feel like someone in the world cares that I exist. This gives me hope to begin my healing journey.
Support is critical when escaping from, staying out of and moving on from domestic violence. Survivors need Justice.
Blogging GEMS program
This Blog is a part of the Blogging GEMS program, which supports domestic violence survivors to practise the self-care strategies of Gratitude, Exercise, Mindfulness, Support, and Service (GEMS). As they practise the strategies, they blog about it.you can read their survivor GEMS Blogs:
Mindfulness Meditation Blogs:
Running away from being still
The fertile ground of giving (coming soon)
A relationship worth repairing (coming soon)