Recovering from Domestic Violence
Healing in the aftermath of domestic violence is different for each survivor. While there are some commonalities among domestic violence survivors, each person’s needs and recovery process are different. At Safe Passage we support survivors in identifying the ways in which counseling and/or advocacy might help. We base our work on these concepts:
The perpetrator is responsible for the abuse and it is not and never was the victim’s fault.
No one deserves to be battered or abused.
Survivors made the best choices that were available to them at the time.
It is possible to heal from the effects of violence.
You, the survivor, are the expert at your own recovery process.
First and foremost, we understand that violence is not about what the victim did wrong. That’s the responsibility of the perpetrator. Period. In fact, one of the most insidious and isolating reactions that many survivors have to their experiences of violence is the feeling that they are somehow to blame.
Violence happens because of the choices made by the perpetrator, not because there is something wrong with the victim. Many victims are left feeling that their lives and feelings are out of control. Counselors focus on empowerment, a process of rebuilding a sense of personal power. By finding ways to build this sense of empowerment within yourself, you will be directing yourself in a positive direction.
While you may not always understand why you made a particular choice, it will be helpful to remember that survivors make the best choices and decisions possible for them, particularly given the constraints they are under at the time. These choices and decisions were often made under conditions of extreme fear or distress. You may need to process your thoughts and feelings about these choices with a counselor or supportive friend.
Although it may take time and be difficult, every survivor can move through an individual process and recover from domestic violence. You have the ability to heal from traumatic experiences, particularly if you receive support and have time to heal and grow.
The survivor is the expert. Counselors using the model of empowerment help create a safe place for healing. While a counselor may have certain information, survivors are the final experts on their needs, choices, and healing process.
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