According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (www.ncadv.org):
- Every 15 seconds a woman is battered by her husband or boyfriend (eight million women a year)
- DV is the #1 cause of injury to women – more than rapes, muggings and car accidents combined
- At least 40% of all female homicides are the result of domestic violence – about 1,600 women a year
- 74% of battered women who are employed are harassed at work, causing at least 20% of them to lose their job
- 87% of children in homes where DV occurs witness the abuse – at least 3.3 million children
- About 70% of men who batter also abuse the children
The magnitude of this issue seems overwhelming, especially if you are one of the victims. Maybe you missed the red flags early in your relationship, and now you recognize the abusive behaviors. You may be feeling trapped in your situation, like nothing will ever change, nothing works. You wake up every day feeling hopeless and helpless. I’ve been there and know how painful it can be, and I have also overcome and offer hope.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you are not alone. Let that be the first thought that brings you comfort. You are not alone. There are many of us in every walk of life.
You are stronger than you realize. You may feel weak and helpless at this point, but you have an inner strength down deep inside that can move mountains.
You can heal. Your heart may be shattered in a million pieces and you feel broken beyond hope, but there is healing for you. Renewed hope will begin the healing process.
You can rest and receive peace. It’s been a long and exhausting struggle with too many nightmares, but it’s time to let go of the craziness and find rest for your soul and much needed peace.
You can achieve freedom from abuse. Your victimization can end and you will be able to soar on eagle’s wings.
You are worthy of being loved and respected. You didn’t ask for or deserve the abuse, and you are not to blame for how you have been treated. Your self-worth and dignity can be restored.
You have been lied to but the truth can set you free. Truth will break the chains that have held you in bondage.
You are gaining wisdom and confidence. You are learning incredibly valuable insights and skills that God can use for good, if you love him and say yes to his call and purpose for your life.
You can experience joy. The pain, disappointment, anxiety, and hopelessness may have robbed you of your joy, but it can be restored and multiplied. Joy can bubble up within you and overflow through you so that you, and those around you, will believe that life is worth living.
You will dream again. You will be able to envision a positive future, and you will have the determination to walk towards it with assurance that God will complete the good work he has begun in you.
If you are a victim, these statements may seem impossible to believe, but let me assure you they are true, and they are true for you. Healing and transformation are possible, emotionally and spiritually, for those who want to leave their victim identity in the past and move forward into a life of healthy relationships and freedom from abuse. There is a way to rise above the chaos, confusion and conflict. From my own experience and in working with many other women I am confident you can successfully make the journey from being a victim to living in freedom from domestic abuse. Be encouraged that you are not alone, and begin your journey to becoming a true survivor.
(Adapted from Overcoming Domestic Abuse: Information and Inspiration to Rise Above, 2016, by Jody Cowdin, Xulon Press. For more information and additional resources, visit www.jodycowdin.com, www.facebook.com/jodycowdin, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
If you need immediate help or advice, call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.