I will never forget the day this question was asked of me. It changed my perspective on domestic violence, hugely.
Whether you were hit once by a partner or hit more than once, you have experienced domestic violence. It is imperative that you do not let guilt, shame, embarrassment or anything else detract from the severity of what was. Your story matters. You matter.
Survivors have a rather remarkable way of excusing, downplaying, justifying or simply forgetting just how bad it was. But why is this? Is it because they are stupid for not leaving? Weak for not reporting it to the police? Pathetic because they 'let it' happen? Society often views them through these biased lenses but allow me to enlighten you.
You are nothing but survivors, desperately doing what your instincts tell you to do in order to survive your environment. For yourselves, and for your children.
Sadly, empathetic hearts often see people accept more than they ever should. They routinely forgive so as to expedite the pathway from chaos to calm. Why? Because they are optimists. They live in hope for change and for peace. They trust that their abusers will see the error of their ways and make room for love and lasting connections.
If this article resonates with you I implore you to consider your options. He may have hit you once, twice or not even at all. But the first time he hits you might also be the last. Many women become statistics as a result of this very occurrence. Many more make the nightly news.
For support, please call any of the following;
1800 Respect - 1800 737 732
NSW Domestic Violence Line - 1800 65 64 63
Your local police station - ask for the Domestic Violence Liaison Officer
Erica is a Women's Health Counsellor in private practice in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. You can read more about her work at www.shecounselling.com.au. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, on 0412 707 242 or via socials @shecounselling.
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