Your voice is heard is one of the single most powerful things that has ever been said to me. It was said by a stranger that was a fellow survivor.
When I was 19/20 I was engaged to an abusive man. The relationship had a profound affect on the relationships after that caused fear around intimacy and trust. Even when I got away from him and travelled around the world he tried to keep his presence haunting me by sending emails with sorry’s and promises I never responded to. On my return home hearing he had met someone else I was relieved thinking he would stop contacting me. I had been back days when I noticed his car following me to a friends home. I had to run in to the house and my friends came out and scared him off. This didn’t stop him he still stalked me. I was always careful where I went and that I was always with someone. I had been away for months traveling alone and never had to worry. I felt safe when overseas as I knew he wasn’t there. Now back on home soil I felt scared always looking over my shoulder. I was afraid of him and slowly as he got married and had a baby with his new wife he left me alone caught up in his life. I was grateful for him to finally be gone.
I slowly worked on my fear of going out, of always looking out for him making sure to not be in the same places as he played in a band and we ran in the same scene so I made sure if he was on the bill or one of his friends bands were I would avoid it like the plague.
A few years passed and a mutual friend got my abusers band logo tattooed on his arm and posted it on social media. I called him out for it knowing my history with the ex, I asked why he had gotten an abusers brand on him. Lets just say the onslaught of people tearing me down calling me a liar and many cruel things when I finally had the courage to speak up about what had happened to me at his hands. My voice was shut down, I was attacked on every level from my character, to my looks, to being told I was “Full of shit”. This was done by friends, mutual friends and his wife at the time. This was very much before the #metoo movement. I was left with a lot of mental anguish from the situation. I shut down again avoiding even more places than before in fear of running into these people. It made me feel small, belittled and that what had happened to me had been completely invalidated and unheard. I worked past the incident got on with my life and didn’t think of it.
That was until I was walking through a crowd at a gig I attended last month. I had a tap on my shoulder and someone said my name, I turned and looked at the lovely black haired woman. She said “you don’t know me but I know you”. I was unsure of where this was leading but she introduced herself and I knew instantly who she was. I was immediately back to that moment of being invalidated but what she said next was one of the most powerful healing things I have ever heard. She said I am sorry for what happened to you, your voice is heard and it matters. It was a beautiful moment between two women that survived the same man.
She had faced abuse at his hands and made a post calling him out for his abuse of her. She posted the photos of what he had done to her. Unlike me when she spoke out she was met with kindness and love from those that had torn me down. She said she understood what it must have been like to have been so invalidated and told me I was heard. I was so moved I hugged her. We talked about where we are at now, our kids amongst other stuff. It was a moment of healing an old wound I didn’t realize needed healing. I am grateful I met her and glad she has found some happiness for herself she deserves happiness after what she went through.
What happened was a real women empowering women moment and one that needed to be shared. Every voice should be heard. For other survivors know your voice is heard and it is important. We need to support those that survive trauma and domestic violence. We need to validate them, listen to them and let them know they are heard. I will always be here to listen to anyone that needs it. For other survivors you are not alone and myself and others support you. Always be kind and listen to those around you that need to share their story xoxo