Loving A Victim of Abuse

I’m definitely not easy to live with, and I’m the first to say so.

Things happen in life that we have no control over, especially when we are young.

There are many variations on abuse, but the survivors all need love and all need people to be understanding about their situation. Loving someone who is a survivor of abuse can be a challenge. I’m going to give you a few guidelines.


Support them.

They have had their worth, privacy, safety, innocence, and confidence stolen from them. Understand that their mind, heart, and emotions are fragile and will be for a long time.


Don’t push for details.

What happened to me happened sixteen years ago. Still, I haven’t told the whole story. If the victim wants to talk about it, let them talk, but if you aren’t law enforcement, don’t push for details. This can cause more harm than good.


Let them not be “over it.”

Abuse is a lingering thing. I still flinch from my husband sometimes even though he would never hurt me. The body and mind remember things. A touch, a sound, a scent, and everything rushes back.


If they need to vent, let them.

Sometimes a survivor needs to vent and cry it out. Let them. If they need to scream, yell, kick. Let them. They’ll be better for it. They have a right to be angry. They have been violated.


If they need to be alone and need space, understand.

THIS. This is the most important. The best healing for me has been to be alone, to write it out, to be in peace. If a survivor needs this, understand. Leave them be. Sometimes silence and room to breathe are all a person needs. Let them have distance for as long as they need.


For someone who has not lived it, parts of living as a survivor of abuse can be hard to fathom. If you have no idea, say so, and ask what you can do. If the survivor says nothing, believe them, and let it be.

I have so much respect for my husband. Taking me on is no easy endeavor. I’m probably the most insecure person I know. There have been so many lasting memories and triggers that I still find new ones to this day. 

Belief is the biggest thing you can do to love a survivor in your life. In the midst of all the pain they feel, feeling like no one believes them is one of the worst things that can happen. Their circumstances are horrible enough without feeling like their situation doesn’t matter. Loving a survivor means supporting them, loving them, and believing them. 

#MeToo

Please be advised that the following blog post contains sensitive subject matter and may be a trigger for those who live with present and past experiences with sexual harassment, abuse, and assault.

 

Social media has been filled lately with the #MeToo stories of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault. The recent attention to the subject has been desperately needed for change. I personally have shared my story(ies) with close friends and family. This has been about as far as it as gone. I’ve seen/heard of too many of my friends and others in my life who have gone through these type situations themselves. This is an issue for both men and women. A person’s gender does not determine whether or not one can help educate, change, and prevent future instances of abuse..

While this has been in the media, I have seen my fair share of people saying things like how someone dresses or their level of intoxication is just asking for an unwanted sexual situation. I can’t explain the feelings that come over me when I read or hear of someone saying it’s deserved or asked for. First, anger, obviously. Who in their right mind would ever believe that someone would wear something with the intent of getting assaulted? This is absolutely insane. Also, I should be able to expect other people to control their primal urges no matter how I’m dressed.

Secondly, I feel a deep sadness that people actually blame the victim. They point fingers at someone who has experienced what is potentially the worst thing that’s ever happened to them.

And third, I feel a fear for every person that I care about and even those I don’t know that they may experience what I myself have.

I’ve had several experiences with harassment and abuse throughout my life. I can remember the boy in middle school who made unwanted advances. I can recall the boyfriend who thought I needed a “push” to be ready for the same things he was, but the cake topper was my step father.

He was ex law enforcement, well thought of, and popular.

I realize now that I should have seen earlier signs. There were snide inappropriate comments and smacks to my backside when it began. While this was uncomfortable, I, in my fourteen year old mind, thought it was as far as it would go. Oh, how wrong I was.

My life changed drastically. Every man I met became a potential predator. I didn’t want anyone to touch me. My view of myself changed. I disgusted myself. I was damaged with no self worth, and I felt like everyone could see it. For the past sixteen years, I haven’t felt comfortable around people. I had to admit to my sweet boyfriend (now husband) what was happening to me after he witnessed it first hand. Had he not caught my step father in the act, I may never have spoken up. Tony cornered me in my room and demanded to know how long I’d been enduring the abuse. His brown eyes were a mix of sorrow and anger. He told me that if I did not speak up, that he would. My relationship with him has been changed. He’s been so tender and understanding about the lingering issues that I’ll probably have for the rest of my life. My heart has been hardened because of what happened to me. If sharing my story will prevent it from happening to just one person, it is worth putting my private experience out there.

Please, if you feel like someone might be making inappropriate advances toward you, no matter how insignificant it may seem, tell someone.