When we hear the word “October” we immediately think of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, right? Everywhere we go we see pink ribbons and t-shirts with the word “survivor” emblazoned on them.
What few people may realize is that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Did you know that on average nearly 20 people a minute in the United States become victims of physical violence at the hands of their partner? That is nearly 10 million women and men per year!
1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced some type of extensive domestic abuse in their lifetime. Domestic abuse hotlines receive an average of 20,000 phone calls a day. 20,000 calls A DAY! That statistic is incredible.
Here’s one woman’s story
Recently, Michele Borboa with She Knows interviewed a woman who was in an abusive relationship. Tami Keele, a domestic abuse survivor, has even written a book about her experiences entitled Get Out! Save Your Life.
As Michele spoke with Tami, they discussed the notion that most women have when chatting about someone they know who may be in an abusive relationship. From the outside looking in, it’s easy for someone to say, “Well, why don’t you just leave?” If the situation is that bad, just pack your things and hit the road, right? As it turns out, Tami explained that it’s not that simple.
For her, it became a matter of control. Her ex-husband began controlling aspects of her life from finances to what she wore. Shortly thereafter, the controlling behaviors escalated into physical abuse. Tami states, “When the physical abuse started, I was in love and fear of him. He would get me to feel sorry for him after he abused me; it is a form of Stockholm Syndrome. Getting out was hard because he had control of all of our finances, I had no money and no credit cards and nowhere to go.”
Tami’s situation is not uncommon. Roughly 85% of women who leave an abusive relationship return due to lack of financial standing, mainly because the abuser controlled the finances in the relationship. Tami is a survivor. She was eventually able to flee her abusive ex-husband and rebuild her life in a healthier, more confident way.
If you read stories of survivors of domestic abuse, you will come to realize that there is not one “magic thing” they did in order to find the strength to leave their abusive relationships. For each person, there was a different spark that ignited their desire to break free from the life they had been forced to live. In Tami’s case, it was her faith.
In the article, Tami also speaks about seeking help after leaving her abuser. She shares, “After he was removed from my life, I was on what felt like an emotional high. I was so proud of myself for finally telling someone the truth about my abuse. I wasn’t concerned about the future, just glad to be alive. I also went to therapy for a year as a constant. In therapy I learned that I also suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. I took the techniques and strategies from therapy and applied them to my life and began the healing process from extreme trauma and abuse from an abuser.”
Tami’s story is one of strength, courage, and new beginnings. What we need to remember is that these women need our support. We need to come together as a community and help victims of domestic violence regain their confidence…their voice…their light.
Offering someone a place to stay for a while until they get back on their feet can be helpful. Simply being there for a friend and lending a sympathetic ear is also a great way to help. Assisting a friend in finding a job and gaining financial independence can be a big step in the healing process as well.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, we want you to know that you are not alone. There are resources out there to help you through this difficult time. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
For more on Tami Keele’s story, click on the link HERE.
We’d love to hear your stories and see what you thought about this blog post. Please feel free to share your insights in the comments section below.