As I am sure you are all aware by now, it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In the run up to this month I made a very big decision, although I did not really realize its significance at the time.
Be A Quiet Little Victim
So often survivors of abuse are told to shut up, and be quiet little victims. Of course it starts with the abuser, but it never seems to end there. Once we have realized the issues, found the courage and power to step away, society still does not want us to talk about our experiences. Even though owning our story and having it validated is so utterly important for our healing journey. Claiming our truth is what moves us from victim to survivor. So why are we not allowed this transformational truth-telling?
Is it because believing the victims most have ‘done something to deserve the abuse’ is comforting to outsiders? Because they would never do anything to deserve abuse, so they are safe. Seriously, why are people so uncomfortable when we talk about abuse?
My Big Decision
For those who have been following along with the blog on the site or any of our social media platforms will have noticed that the miniblogs were signed by operations manager, Mags (that’s me). It seemed like a little step when I decided to do it, but it ended up being quite a turning point. Although every step of the SwanWaters Journey has brought me a little closer, I was never quite ready to own my story that way. In April I wrote a post called ‘See Me Now,’ in which I lost the first layer of my safety net, and now it was time to ditch that net altogether.
I thought that choice was about SwanWaters. I really did. But it turns out that I needed to make that decision for myself too. It was the last step in the process of embracing my truth.
People are just going to have to get used to us. Telling our story is too important. It is important for our healing, and it is important for our fellow survivors. Through our own learning and the validation of our peers, we can grow into our potential.
Why We Should Keep Speaking Up and Speaking Out
For the people who still believe that we should whisper our story, or confine it only to places like SwanWaters, I have this to say:
We have been required to keep this hidden for too long, it is time to let our souls get some fresh air.
Besides, speaking out about domestic violence is not only good for targets and survivors. It is good for the world. Abuse has such far reaching and profound effects on our communities, it is in all of our best interests to address the issue and help survivors heal.
Curious to learn more about the impact of domestic violence? Head over to the podcast we recorded with our friends from Stop Abuse Campaign.