The Domestic Abuse Survivor – Because of you

I was driving home from a blog event the other day when I heard a segment on the radio about domestic abuse. I’m a domestic abuse survivor, so it is a topic that is very close to my heart and one that I feel is important to bring to the forefront of conversation. Listening to the segment made me think about how the people who have gone through abuse are often portrayed as victims, but I’m not a domestic abuse victim. I’m a survivor and survivors are strong. So this is a letter of thanks to my abuser, because without you I would not have become strong.

The domestic abuse survivor - Because of you.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Izf

 

I was raised by strong women who believe women should be equal to their male counterparts in all aspects, socially, academically, economically and politically. They don’t agree with men being given a different set of rules because they were born with different body parts to them. I was taught to express myself freely, to educate myself, choose a life I wanted and be the best at that life as I could be, whether that be as a homemaker, on the corporate ladder or both. I was taught that I am equal.

 

You didn’t like that I put myself as your equal though and you had to beat me down until I was merely a shell of who I had been. You lost your temper because my friend had sent me a text asking if I wanted to join her in a local bar and I agreed without running it by you first. You stripped me of my clothes and threw me into the street in my underwear to shame me. To make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin, until you deemed I was punished enough and allowed me to get dressed.

 

You smashed my friend’s car and left me with bruises because he had given me a lift to your friend’s wedding. You didn’t seem to care that he had actually just begun a relationship with another of my close friends and wanted some advice from me about her favourite flower before their first big date. All you saw was a woman questioning your male dominance and your claim to me. How very archaic of you.

 

You made me question my intelligence and belittled my successes. You laughed as my unconditional university offers rolled in… all five of them. You told me how naïve it was that I could attend an established and highly ranked university. You felt the idea of me becoming more educated than you weakened your position, so you took it upon yourself to tell me how I would fail and never hold a degree.

 

You made me feel ashamed for approaching relationships in the same way so many men do, as you do. You called me a ‘slut’, a ‘whore’ a ‘tramp’ for engaging in casual relationships prior to meeting you, because the thought of a woman holding power of her own body without fear of judgement baffled you. All the while you felt it acceptable for you – a man – to do the same, not only prior to meeting me, but also during the course of our relationship. You deemed that acceptable because you believe men to be the more dominant and powerful gender. How very archaic of you.

 

But as a woman grown. As a survivor of your torment and abuse, I see how much I terrified you. A woman nearly 10 years your junior pushing for a social agenda that saw equality among the sexes, that threatened your dominance, your very place in this world. How very dare I.

 

How dare I be ambitious enough to work through the education system, allowing myself to become far more educated than you. How dare I allow myself friendships with the opposite sex and be valued enough to be included in their discussions and have my opinion taken into account. How dare I be confident and powerful enough within myself to declare autonomy of my own body and engage in casual relationships without fear of social oppression which would declare me ‘unmarriable’. How dare I do the same as you, a man! How dare I, a woman put myself as your equal and not your inferior. How dare I!

 

But despite your best efforts to beat me down, put me in what you deemed as ‘my place’. Despite your best efforts to shatter my self belief, my self esteem and lower my self worth. I wanted to thank you, because you in all your insecure weakness made me stronger. Oh not at first of course, at first I was merely a shell of who I had been, but over time I healed. Over time I rebuilt myself, who I was and what I stood for. Because of you beating me down both physically and emotionally, I began to see how many double standards there are in regards to women in our society. Because of you I began to see the unfairness of how women are treated. Because of you I became a feminist. Because of you, I will make sure my sons never become like you. Because of you I will make sure if I am ever graced with daughters they will know they are equal to their male counterparts and not their inferior. Because of you I worked harder and made certain I graduated from university holding a degree. Because of you I made sure that in every relationship I have found myself in since you, I have been seen as equal. Because of you… I became strong.

 

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44 thoughts on “The Domestic Abuse Survivor – Because of you

    1. I’m so sorry you had to go through something similar, but thank you so much for your kind words. It was a very emotional post to write and I think that came through.

  1. This sent shivers down my spine. To think that someone could think that it’s acceptable to belittle and cause so much pain to another person for NO reason other than you trying to live your life. I will be sharing this, so powerful. Just like you! x

    Kat

    1. Looking back on the whole experience I realise just how difficult it was. But I’m really proud of myself for turning that experience into something positive and using it to show strength and open up conversation about a difficult issue.

  2. You’re right you are a survivor. A strong, independent woman who threatened a man so much that he felt the need to show his dominance. I think it’s great to hear more about surviving than being a victim although I am so sorry to hear about what you went through x

    1. Thank you much, that is so kind of you to say. I’m really proud of myself for turning my experiences into something positive and think it has made me a much stronger person.

  3. Oh gosh this made me so emotional, I am so sorry you had to go through this but I can relate on so many levels. I was in an abusive relationship in my teens and I think it shaped me into the person I became, some good and some bad. I have major issues with trust and self confidence, even after all this time. xx

    1. It breaks my heart to see just how many people this post resonates with, which has made me feel even more passionate about it. I wish you all the best and really hope you can heal from your experience in the future.

    1. Thank you so much, that is so kind of you to say. It is such a difficult and emotive subject, but one that needs to be spoken about.

  4. Inspirational some cis men and women have treated me this way all my life but your courage gives me the strength to do the same … push for equality fight for my autonomy become more educated than the bullies make something more of myself how very dare I … powerful

    1. I’m so sorry you have had to experience things like this, but I’m so glad that you have found strength in this post. Wishing you luck for the future.

  5. What a difficult experience that must have been for you, I’m so sorry you had to go through something like that 🙁 It’s amazing to hear how you came out the other end stronger & didn’t give into the awfulness of his mindset x

    1. Thank you for your comment. It was an awful experience and it was a very difficult one to write about, but I think it is a subject that needs to be spoken about.

  6. I too would call you a survivor and not a victim because you have overcome so much and what an incredible woman you are! I was abused as a child by my stepmother and have had countless bad relationships where the man felt the need to assert his supposed dominance. Contrary to what he thought, we women are equals not subordinates as the men that hurt us like to make us out to be. They are scared of the power that we hold.

  7. That is both a powerful read and a great post. You have given that person the proverbial two fingers and you should be proud of yourself. Not only did you get out of that relationship, and go on to gain your degree (a huge achievement), but you’ve had the courage to write about it and stand as a voice for those who are still to frightened to speak up. Well done hun!

  8. Oh what a terrible thing to go through, but you are a super strong women, and writing about this shows just how much your are and that you are going to help many other women too

  9. I too am a survivor. It’s so great to see these words written and open to anyone to read. Victimising people is really not the way to go, we are all survivors and by owning this rather than the victim status helps in the healing process. Thank you

  10. I find this article so inspiring and thought provoking. But sometimes I do wonder why some men feel they are better than any other person just because they are in a relationship. In your case you can clearly see he was threatened by your confidence and ambition. Go girl, the sky is your limit.

  11. It’s great to hear you have taken the awful experiences and make you strong. Well done for speaking up and for not letting him win!

  12. Your strength is so very much inspiring and wow, what a post! Thanks for sharing this, it’s reminded me that out of nightmares hope can shine through. X

    1. I’m sorry you had to go through experiences of domestic abuse. I’m glad that you have some out of the other side. Wishing you love and healing.

  13. I am a survivor of child abuse and within that abuse my mother was also abused. I witnessed so much of that and as I got older I witnessed female friends and other female relatives go through some horrific domestic abuse. I always swore I’d never be in an abusive relationship but my ex-husband and I emotionally abused each other. After a lot of therapy we have been able to be friends but the relationship is gone forever because once that trust is gone, it’s gone. Now I hold my head high and know that I am way too strong to even be bothered by weak, pathetic, cowardly men. That’s what these abusers are. At the end of the day, they are cowards. Fear of losing their dominance and other insecurities often leads them to abuse. I’m so glad you got out when you did and that you know your worth and how strong you are! Love this post!

  14. How inspirational – it must have been so hard to look back but wow – how wonderful that you could rebuild your strength from your experience. Thank you for sharing

  15. A very powerful piece of writing, and how brave and courageous of you to share it. What a journey you’ve had and how wonderful to hear you’ve not only come out stronger but that you’re breaking the chain by raising your own family differently xx

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