You are not alone.
Dealing with the after-effects of domestic and sexual violence is no easy path. Often when survivors are able to get away or to get out of an unhealthy situation we think the battle has been won.
Only we discover, afterwards, the harmful effects have not ended.
It’s important to recognize that the steps we take to end an abusive relationship are truly the beginning steps for the victim. The strength that a woman carries to remain in an abusive relationship (yes, it takes strength to remain) is the same strengths- only differently focused- that she will use to overcome the lingering after-effects.
Healing from intimate partner sexual violence is a process and takes work.
Many victims deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks and nightmares. Symptoms of distress can appear in forms of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, abnormal sexual desire (whether extremely diminished or extremely enhanced), illness and much more.It’s important to recognize these are all normal reactions. You are not alone.
My personal journey led me to giving you these tips.
1. Seek Help– There are experts who can give you direction and tools to deal with what you are going through. Click here for resources – a list of experts
2. Tell someone– I know how difficult, humiliating and shameful you feel, but there are people who care, who will listen and telling your story helps you to heal. Find someone you feel safe with and if the first person or the third person you tell wasn’t helpful, keep telling your story. Keeping things hidden away hurts.
3. Choose to Be Different– Recognize that you can’t change someone else but you can certainly change yourself and you will find ways to get stronger every day.
4. Never Give Up– Each day gets better, you will have tough days and even some unbearable ones, but it does get better. The nightmares subside, the flashbacks go away, the panic attacks diminish and it does get better.