“What are you thinking? Who do you think you are? That was totally your fault, you shouldn’t have stayed. You should have known better. Don’t tell anyone, no one will understand. They will think you are stupid, they will make a big deal about it. What if I’m wrong? I just won’t think about it. Maybe it will go away. I am so angry right now, but I can’t trust anyone. What will people think about me if they knew.”
Sound familiar? These are just a few of the thoughts that go through a women’s mind in a few seconds, probably everyday. What is she battling? Admitting to herself that she has experienced domestic violence or sexual assault. While, this thought process is fitting for many other issues that women face, it certainly is an example of the thought process accepting domestic violence.
Our society has really done a number on us making us question whether or not it is worth the fight to tell someone what you have experienced. In part because it can be very difficult to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt in court, not to mention painful, to move through the justice system. While the justice system is important and needed, I want you to put that aside for a moment. What is really important is that you first admit to yourself, that someone hurt you in a way that crossed many boundaries and is unacceptable. Once you are able to admit it to yourself then you can begin to asses your options. Yes, you have options. Maybe you don’t need to go to extreme measures, maybe you do. There is help available to you and it can be as simple as finding the right person to share your experience with who may be able to help you. There is the Aspire app/initiative that you can download, you can do a google search, call the domestic violence hotline, or seek out the local police department for resources.
Let’s be honest, when you have experienced domestic violence you know it. It’s my opinion that we battle with ourselves because we don’t want it to be true. When we accept that it is true; we know we will in some way, be accepting the shame that comes with it. Shame is hard for our ego and pride. It’s true, these are some big pills to swallow and do make use look at our humanity in a way that is usually very uncomfortable. That’s why I’m here to tell you that you can get over your ego and pride. You are enough and you deserve to value yourself and your body as a treasure. No matter what happened to you, you are important and valuable. If you won’t value yourself who will? I’m not talking about being conceited or over zealous about “loving” yourself. What I am talking about it having a common respect for yourself and being the first person to understand that as a human being you have value.
As an adult you have a responsibility for your actions and in doing so, that means taking time to address the challenges we come across. Blaming your parents, boyfriend, husband or circumstance does nothing to move you forward. Rather you need to admit that you have been hurt, (emotionally, physically or other) have the courage to work through the journey of acceptance and healing. There is always hope. Maybe it’s time to stop the negative self talk and begin the honest self talk. Speak the truth to yourself and others. It won’t be easy but over time you will find that it was worth the growing pains and you will begin to feel an inner peace and satisfaction like never before. So next time you ask yourself, “What are you thinking?” you can answer; “I’m thinking that I won’t accept behavior that doesn’t value me or anyone else as a human being. “.