The first time was after I was assaulted and held at knife point by a couple of teen thugs. My pants were ripped and the buttons torn off of my shirt. I was mauled. I was scared to death. When it was all over, I knew I was okay but the fright and the panic lasted for days and weeks and months. I tried to get past it. I tried. I really did. But it would come rushing back at me at the most unexpected moment. And instead of holding me or comforting me, I was told to forget it.
Then there were the missed miscarriages. Each time I was devastated. Each time I was broken inside. Each time I was barely hanging on for the sake of my other children. Months later, it was better but it would come flooding back and drag me down. Again, I was told to forget it, let it go. It wasn’t easy but I tried.
I really tried. Now I wonder if I had been allowed to grieve and cry and express my outrage and devastation, would I be better now? Or would these memories come flooding over me forty and twenty-eight years later? I know the memories would still come back but I think I might be better. I guess I won’t ever know.
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What can YOU do to help someone who is abused?
First, remember that YOU don’t have to solve the problem, you just need to provide support.
Statistics tell us that it is VERY likely that you know someone who is abused. It might be your next door neighbor or you sister. It might be you student or your best friend. It might be your teacher or your student.
Know the numbers. Know who that abused person can call.
Be ready to help with child care so the person can seek help. Just know who she can call for child care. Be ready to help.
Let the victim know that you believe them and that you will be ready to keep their information private. Let them know that you care. Let them know you are there to support them in any way you can.
Ask the person how you can help. You are not there to take over. You are not there to make decisions. You are there to provide support and information. They are the ones to make the decisions. Let them know that you are there for support and to help in any way you can. Let them make the decisions.
If a person chooses to stay in an abusive relationship, be there to support them. Don’t judge them. Just be there for them. It might not be the right time for them to leave. Just be there for them. Let them know you are there for them. Let them know you are a resource for them.
Recognize that they might not ever leave.
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