Yesterday we celebrated the nineteenth anniversary of surviving attempted murder and escaping my abuser.
I was raped and had miscarried from his abuse before I turned 19, so it feels really weird to wrap my brain around the time frames. I survived the strangulation, escaped, and started to deal with my trauma while I was 19. And yet I still have him a little power up until the past six months. The part of me that was still holding up my emotional wall became terrified that he would go after our daughter once we adopt, knowing from experience how I feel about motherhood; he witnessed just how effective causing the miscarriage was for devastating me. Thankfully my amazing psychiatrist helped me work through the residual fears while we discussed preventing triggers for me with the adoption. I hadn’t even realized that I was still giving him that tiny bit of power. I always feared him taking away another child.
It’s also hard to believe that nineteen years ago people acted like they didn’t know and didn’t try to help me; they turned a blind eye essentially. Now we are in a culture of “#metoo”. It’s sad to know that some are seeking fame and money, but I’m glad we have finally reached a point that we stopped looking the other way. Domestic violence is finally a cause that we discuss instead of gossiping about behind closed doors.
I hope that surviving and working so hard to help others will also help with our daughter’s trauma. I hope that the next nineteen years will be empowering for all victims and that our society will truly begin to help the portions of our population that in general have been neglected for far too long. I dream that before my daughter’s own nineteenth anniversary of surviving her traumas we learn to help our veterans, the elderly, victimized people, and especially our children.
One last note that I hope helps. I learned from a close friend this anniversary that most people don’t know how to handle hearing about survivor anniversaries. Thankfully she told me that she didn’t know how to react, which was so enlightening and encouraging. Celebrate with the survivor and cheer their strength for coming so far. They trusted you enough to share their accomplishment with you. They’ll even feel heard well enough to share any mixed emotions then, if they have them. But first, please celebrate that they worked hard to become a survivor.