Abused domestic violence survivor speaks on recovery

  • Published
  • By Anonymous
  • 59th Medical Wing Family Advocacy Progam
As a child I endured it, as an adult I minimized it. Abuse, regardless of the severity, will always be abuse.

I was in an abusive relationship for more than 16 years. Leaving that relationship took a long time and was extremely tough but today I'm happy to say I am no longer in that relationship. Now, with the help of the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate program, I am on a journey to recovery.

As abuse victims, we tend to follow down the same narrow and twisted path. We grow accustomed to being told how to feel, how to act, how to think, when to cry, what to wear and whom we may speak with, among other things. As a result, it feels as if we are slowly losing our identity.

Through the [Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate] program I learned simple things, such as warning signs, or red flags, of abuse. Nearly every red flag I jotted down I recognized in my own relationship.

Looking around the room and listening to what the other attendees had to say I wasn't the only one. The common censuses in the room was, "If I only knew then what I know now."
I think these warning signs should be taught in high schools. If young adults can identify the signs they can identify and protect themselves from potential abuse.

The victim advocates also helped me realize that I needed to change my way of thinking. Needless to say, after years in an abusive relationship, I wasn't the most confident person. The victim advocates showed me that this way of thinking was harmful. Though I was all fully capable of thinking for myself, endless self-doubt prevented me from doing anything, from taking action.

There's a quote that says, "It's not who you are that holds you back; it's who you think you're not."

My journey of learning, healing and growing from the abuse continues. It is my greatest hope to flourish as an individual and allow my wounds to heal. I strive to have healthy relationships with others and to not fall prey to the same cycle I once lived for all those years.

Thus far, the DAVA program, facilitators' support and the other clients have been instrumental. I remember a quote from author Mitch Albom. He wrote, "All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time."

The 59th Medical Wing's Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate Program (DAVA) offers a domestic violence recovery group open to military members, their spouses and dependents. The program offers guidance, coping techniques, abuse identifiers, effective communication, relief, understanding and camaraderie among clients of all ages, ethnicities and ranks.

(Written by an abused military spouse who participated in the domestic violence victim advocacy program.)