WASHINGTON, December 6, 2012 – Read real stories. Raise your awareness.
Once too ashamed or guilt-ridden to tell even their closest friends and family members about their abuse, more and more victims and survivors of domestic violence and intimate partner abuse are coming forward with their stories. But not to law enforcement, lawyers, and judges as you may expect. Instead, survivors and current victims dedicate websites, blogs, message boards, and even self-published books to their experiences.
Could the reason for such public disclosure be related to the increased media coverage of high-profile domestic violence cases like Rihanna and Chris Brown and the most recent murder-suicide tragedy of Kansas City Chief’s player Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins? Is the frightening reality depicted in cases like the Susan Powell disappearance and the subsequent murder of her children at the hands of their father in February 2012 urging others to come forward in greater numbers for fear they may be next? Or are the victims simply tired of being victims and suffering in silence?
The possible reasons are countless and may never be measured or determined, but a movement is evident. Just do a Google blog search for emotional abuse, domestic violence, and verbal abuse, and you will be bombarded by more than 94,000 results collectively.
For many of us, the stories are too stark to read or believe. We also question why victims would reveal such grisly, private information about themselves so publically. We wonder why anyone would openly admit to being victimized in the first place because, unfortunately, too many of us still believe the fallacy that the victim is somehow to blame for the violence inflicted upon him or her.
Fully aware of the backlash or disbelief readers may feel and express, many who have been abused or are in the midst of abuse charge forward with their online writing and disclosure, because for most, it is the only outlet available for their voices to be heard:
1. Current victims find immediate validation through writing and sharing their experiences. Many use the online support to gain motivation, support, and resources to aid their escape.
“I feel the only way to end abuse for everyone is to expose its variations to the world. If we can recognize abuse, we can stop it. But to recognize it, we first must know what we’re looking for,” writes Kellie Jo Holly, creator and founder of VerbalAbuseJournals.com which offers victims an opportunity to anonymously submit their stories online.
She further notes, “By sharing your story, you can confirm the experience of hundreds of other abuse victims who are unsure about what is happening to them or who believe that abusive relationships are normal.”
2. Survivors who have escaped also gain validation and support necessary for their recovery process. For many, writing a blog or book is their justice and the only way their stories will ever be heard.
I began writing my story of survival In January 2012 on my blog, Paula’s Pontifications. Writing was my way of purging myself of the anger and confusion I felt on the heels of escaping an emotionally abusive and violent relationship. The overwhelming and unexpected support I received from my followers and readers motivated me to compile my story as a book, Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath, which I self-published in August 2012 and is available as an e-book and a traditional paperback.
For me, the process jumpstarted and guided my recovery. Many long-time family and friends were initially shocked and saddened by my story. Amazingly, they do not see me as a victim. Instead, many who know my story come to me for guidance, help, and advice for themselves or their friends who are experiencing domestic violence situations and their aftermath.
3. Survivors battling in family court often discover that Courtroom justice is elusive. They are discouraged by the limited opportunities to be heard by judges and/or child appointed advocates. Writing and receiving feedback through blogs and message boards provides immediate support, encouraging them to continue fighting for their rights and the rights of their children.
In November 2011, Tina Swithin began her blog, OneMomsBattle.com, writing about her struggles in family court fighting her narcissistic ex-spouse for custody of her daughters. In March 2012, Christie Brinkley conducted a high-profile interview on the Today Show in which she encouraged viewers to do an Internet search for divorcing a narcissist. Ms. Brinkley’s advice was heeded, and One Mom’s Battle took off.
Last month, Swithin published her personal story, Divorcing a Narcissist - One Mom’s Battle, with a forward by Dr. Carole Lieberman, American psychiatrist and author of the award-winning book Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets.
On her blog, Swithin addresses her readers, “If you feel alone in your current battle, then it is my hope that you will feel less alone. If you feel that no one understands what you are going through, I hope to change that. There is power in numbers and there are thousands and thousands of men and women who have fallen prey to Narcissists or other Cluster B personality disorders. It is time to strap on the battle gear and regain your voice and your power. Divorcing a Narcissist - One Mom’s Battle will reassure you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel- no matter how dark it seems right now.”
Every survivor’s story is unique. However, domestic violence and intimate partner abuse are the root cause and reason for them all. Taking the time to read just a few of the accounts may change your attitude and help bring real awareness to an ever-growing social issue that is costing this country 4.1 billion dollars each year in medical and mental health costs alone.
Domestic violence can happen and is happening to anyone and everyone regardless of their age or economic status. Do you or someone you know have a story to tell?
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