Survivors of abuse, both men and women, are not fragile individuals. They are strong, worthy individuals who have overcome a great amount of suffering whether it was physical, sexual, or verbal. Every single form of abuse affects the person emotionally, lowering their self-esteem and sense of worth. Often survivors hide or bury the facts and the deep effects of the abuse out of fear, shame, and lack of support. The best way for a survivor to heal from the affects of the abuse is to give a voice to what has been done or said to them; to be heard and to know they are supported and loved. Below is helpful information for all of us who know a survivor.
Giving a Voice to Domestic Abuse Survivors
Whether they were a child, teenager or an adult, domestic abuse causes the victim(s) to keep quiet out of shame, fear and guilt. A victim needs the ability to speak about what is or has been done to them without question or judgment.
Frozen rather than Fight or Flight
When in danger, we often assume the natural response is to fight back or run. However, when abuse is involved (sexual or physical), there are scientific neurological studies that prove a ‘frozen’ response takes place as a result of the flood of adrenaline and hormones.
They literally can’t think to run, fight or even scream. When survivors of child abuse, sexual assault, or domestic abuse understand this, it helps to ease the undeserved shame of the victim. It also helps validate the victim who is struggling with “why they stayed or let it happen”.
Triggers and Repressed Memories
Survivors of domestic abuse are often survivors of abuse as a children or teens and have often suppressed their abuse. Overcoming and escaping a domestic abusive situation can often unlock these memories.
Counseling is Key in Healing Process
Survivors of abuse are 3x more likely to suffer depression. Given an outlet to talk about the abuse releases the shame, fear and feelings of unworthiness. Talking to a counselor can help guide them through the healing process.
The healing process for an abuse survivor is similar to that of someone suffering grief. They need to feel safe, experiencing the sadness of the loss of their childhood innocence, their virginity or security, whatever it is the abuse took from them. Then they need to have the freedom to experience righteous anger and eventually be led down the path to forgiveness of both the perpetrator and themselves.
Don’t be Afraid to Help a Survivor of DMV Create an Escape Plan
Survivors want to know they will be safe and protected. Many have no idea what the first step should be or where they should turn. Find the nearest shelter and walk with them on the journey to make an escape plan.
Survivors Can Live a Normal Life
If you have suffered any form of abuse at any point in your life, you can overcome its debilitating effects. The more you talk about what has been done to you, the more you will heal. Although it will never ‘disappear’ from your past, it will be a chapter of your life that can be closed. The more you keep the shame, guilt and fear locked away, the more power you continue to give the perpetrator and the more likely you will continue to remain their victim.
Abuse Doesn’t Define a Survivor
Often survivors take on what has been done to them as a part of who they are and they live in a victim mentality feeling as if nothing good will ever happen to them, that they are unworthy or not good enough.
For more information visit www.HopefulHeartsMinistry.com