Hope. It’s a four letter word we sometimes don’t talk about. As an abuse survivor, sometimes hope seems too far out of reach. Too far to even hope for. But there is hope. It’s there, we just have to open our eyes and see it.
Whether you are a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault or molestation, verbal or emotional abuse, child abuse, or any other kind of abuse, at the core of it, we are all the same. We are one. We have been hurt, violated, abandoned, and left to sort through the darkness the abuse can leave behind in your heart. It can honestly be hell. But there is hope. There is a light somewhere at the very end of what can be a very dark tunnel. But even before you get to the light, you do NOT have to walk through the tunnel alone. You are never alone.
I know that in the midst of a crisis, sometimes it feels like there is no one there. No one could possibly understand what you are going through, so you don’t even try to talk about it. You keep quiet for fear of being judged or misunderstood. But you do not have to live in silence. There are organizations out there who dedicate themselves to helping. This organization focuses on ministering to women and children in domestic violence shelters, but there are others who focus on ending abuse and helping survivors by offering counseling and support.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and RAINN are two amazing organizations dedicated to bringing an end to every kind of abuse. They fight to bring about public and political awareness to the issues, to empower abuse survivors through counseling and support, and bring abusers to justice. These are great organizations to reach out to for help and support.
Sometimes, though, it’s another survivor who affects you most. Who better can understand your pain than someone who has been in your shoes. Someone who has walked the road you are walking. Someone who is still walking that road. Sometimes just having someone to talk to, someone who will listen and understand, can make the difference between despair and healing. Sometimes it is as simple as being heard. You just have to have the courage to speak. There are organizations out there that believe that community is key in healing, that people need people, and that we weren’t meant to live this life alone. It is these communities that have been so vital for myself as a survivor, and I wanted to share them with you. There are two that are very close to my heart. Violence UnSilenced focuses on being the voice of the abused, helping abuse survivors tell their stories, be heard, be validated. They allow survivors to share their stories with others, and encourage survivors and their loved ones as a whole to speak out and overcome the culture of silence and shame that exists today.
Another organization that has affected me is To Write Love on Her Arms. They focus solely on dealing with the pain, pain not only caused by abuse, but anything that causes hopelessness and despair. Their mission statement says that they are dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
More than anything, whether you are a Christian or not, God loves you. He walks with you through the darkest moments of your life, even when you aren’t aware that he is there. He understands because his son, his only son, was beaten, abused, and humiliated. He knows our pain, because he’s seen it first hand.
No matter what, know that you aren’t alone. Whatever you’ve been through, whatever abuse you’ve suffered, I hope that you’ll realize you are never alone. The truth is that there are others. There are others that have been abused, who are being abused, and you do not have to walk this road in silence anymore.