|Posted on August 30, 2017 at 10:30 AM|
~By Danielle S.
I was recently asked how I was doing. I wanted to answer more than, “good.” I thought long and hard. How am I doing? Here’s my conclusion.
I am proud. I am proud to be a survivor. I am proud to be a voice. I am proud of myself.
I was raised to be ashamed of myself. I was told that I didn’t matter. I didn’t count. I was to live my life the way I was raised to, and not for myself. If I disagreed with anything I was taught, I was simply wrong. I was abused, brainwashed, and broken into being a different person than I really was. I didn’t have a say in who I was, who I wanted to be, who I eventually would become. I didn’t have a voice, and so I had no defense against him and his abuse.
Then, one day, I found out one simple truth. What he was doing is illegal.
To be completely honest with you, even when I found out it was illegal, I only spoke up for my other family members I knew he was hurting. I wouldn’t have spoken up just for myself, because that’s how I was taught to think of and feel about myself. I meant nothing, so it didn’t matter. But I loved my family, and it ached me every time I had to “play” detective and undo some damage they didn’t even know about at the time. But it was no game. It was real, it was real abuse, real crime, and until I knew it was illegal, there was nothing I could do. KNOWIING gave me POWER. I couldn’t do anything until I knew there was something I could do. I tried to do something about it a couple times, but I never succeeded and it became his word against mine or I was told “Jesus said to forgive…”.
That was a long intro, but my point is, I was hopeless as long as I DIDN’T KNOW. And if I didn’t know, there is someone else out there who doesn’t know. Someone is stuck in an abusive relationship with no hope or way of getting out. My heart goes out to them, but I can do more than be sympathetic with them. As horrible as what happened to me is, here’s my real main point. I am proud to have gone through all that I did, so I can use my voice, so I can tell others about the face that its more than wrong, ITS ILLEGAL, and there IS something that can be done about it. There is hope, there is something you can do about it, if you go to the right people.
Anyone can sympathize, but only those who have gone through something can truly understand the parts that are so hard to understand. The deepest parts that make us feel ashamed and alone. And this is why I am proud of what I’ve been through. I could be ashamed, I could hide my story, pretend it never happened, and never tell anyone... or I could speak up, tell my story, and potentially help someone. It’s my choice.
I don’t have to tell anyone anything. It’s my life, and my story. But I want to help someone. I want other abuse victims and survivors to know that when I tell them that I’m here for them and that I understand, I really am and really do understand. I know exactly how shameful, scary, and unsettling it can be. But I also know what it’s like to rise above the shame.
So many times, I start telling someone my story and they tell me, “You don’t have to talk about it,” and I say, “I know, but I want to. I’m proud of my story! I want to help others!” It’s not always easy, but helping others just like me is so rewarding. The feedback from people I’ve inspired is so inspiring for myself. I speak out for others, and for myself. I was taught by my authorities that pride is a “bad thing” and that we shouldn’t say things like, “I’m so proud of you!” But here’s the Google’s definition of the word pride:
1. Pride: feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one's own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.
Let me assure you, it’s okay to be proud of yourself and the things you’ve been through, and what you are accomplishing. So how am I? I am proud of who I am, what happened to me, and what I can do to help others who need it. Stay proud of yourself!