One of the reoccurring themes from the Brave Project I have noticed is that no matter the length of time the abuse happened it caught many of the survivors by surprise. We all experienced the same victim guilt and we all try to remain silent. However, speaking up is liberation and Ms Jennifer realized this for herself. Read more of her story below.
What gave you the courage to become free and leave your situation? My children were my courage, my reason better yet the only reason why I left my domestic violence situation.
How long did you endure the abuse? I was in a domestic violent relationship just shy of a year, about 11 months.
Do you consider yourself brave? I didn’t consider myself brave. I was hard on myself for a really long time about how I ever entered the relationship, why I stayed as long as I did and even after I left. Why I still had some level of contact. It wasn’t until I shared my story with other people and they were able to see the bright pink lights on the other side of what they were going through did I see it as brave. When we are going through something we don’t see our actions as brave just survival; just what we have to do to get THROUGH. But when I was able to see how me surviving can save someone else’s life is when I began to see that just maybe I am a little brave.
One piece of advice you’d give a woman who is enduring her own struggle currently? My biggest advice to another woman who is currently in a situation similar to mine is “IT’S NOT YOU”. The number one tactic is take make us believe that everything that is happening is our fault. We caused them to emotional berate us; We caused them to physical assault us; We deserved the name calling, punches and kicks. Well honey let me tell you something, YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO DESERVE THIS. If you know it’s time for you to leave the situation start by confiding in a friend, mentor or counselor. Share with them exactly what’s going on ask them to help you come up with a strategic plan to get out, because let’s be honest none of us can generally pick up and relocate today, so it’s okay to be strategic. It’s okay to start putting away money if you have to. It’s okay to start putting clothes at your confidant’s house if you need to. Make a plan and a back-up plan so that when the time comes for you to leave you won’t be as scared and able to follow through.