Intimate partner violence – also known as domestic abuse – is a prevalent and deeply ingrained problem in South Africa. Sadly, most victims never come forward with their stories, which means that violent acts against women and children continue to be perpetuated day after day and year after year.
As a victim of domestic abuse, it will always be up to you when or even whether to share your story. This is a highly personal decision, and should you decide to open up about it, it should be on your terms, and only when you feel ready to do so.
Why should I share my story of domestic abuse?
Talking about your experiences of domestic violence can go a long way towards helping you to heal from the trauma, and it can help others who may be facing something similar. It adds another voice to the fight against abuse – and the more voices that are heard, the more we can take a stand against it.
In a nutshell, those who have been affected by domestic abuse can help to create safer communities by sharing their stories. By enabling others to understand your struggles, challenges and triumphs, you can help to build awareness, educate others, and even prevent more incidences of domestic abuse in future. Education and open communication is critical to breaking free of abuse.
By speaking out and standing together, we can help prevent senseless and unnecessary deaths, like that of Karabo Mokoena, Anelisa Dulaze and Priska Schalk, to name just a few of the hundreds of women who are killed by their intimate partners in South Africa every year.
I want to share my story of domestic abuse, but I don’t know how
There are many avenues available to you if you feel ready to talk about the violence you’ve experienced. You can write a blog post, you could be interviewed in a magazine or on the radio, you could speak at events, schools or colleges, or you write letters to the newspaper or a magazine.
Alternatively, you could choose less public platforms that serve to help you begin to deal with the trauma in a safe, gentle and healing way. Not everyone feels comfortable talking about their experience of abuse publicly, but talking about it at all, even to a trust confidant, could help you begin to heal from the pain and fear.
Here’s how you can begin to open up to a friend, family or trusted confidant: Where and how to share your sexual abuse story.
Need confidential support or a place to share your story? Marie Stopes can help
At Marie Stopes, we don’t only offer sexual healthcare services. We are also here to listen to and support you in a caring, confidential and completely non-judgemental environment. If you or someone you care about needs a caring ear or help with dealing with domestic violence, we’re here.