One thing I love about the Blogosphere is encountering sites and projects that inspire me and further my thinking about trauma and healing. In the midst of my recently discussed musings regarding connections, I discovered a new site that addresses the ideas of community support and witnessing: Violence Unsilenced. Part of what is damaging about abuse is the sense of isolation, of being cut off from and different from others. The reality is that abuse is in fact a far too common experience and survivors may gain a sense of connection and further their healing by reclaiming their voices and telling their stories. Keeping the secret of abuse only furthers the agendas of abusers.
To have a witness to the horrors that were once secret can be empowering. I see myself as a therapist as serving in that witness role. Connecting to a larger survivor community can help too. The internet offers opportunities for survivors to connect in all sorts of new ways. A caveat: as with in-person disclosure, it is important to work on making informed choices about who/which sites to trust. Please be sure to check out sights/sources/online communities. Run them by your therapist or get references from others you trust.
Violence Unsilenced has created a site where survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault can tell their stories in the context of an online community that bears witness and pledges to listen.
Read their mission in their own words:
This blog was created with the sole intention of shedding light on the epidemics of domestic violence and sexual assault by giving their survivors a voice. I believe one of the last hurdles to eradicating abuse is the culture of silence and shame that exists yet today. I believe that you have people in your life that are being abused, you just don’t realize it. I believe victims are led to believe they are alone, that no one will believe them, and that people will think less of them. I believe every situation is complicated and unique. I believe that every single survivor of abuse is different from his or her comrades, and that by sharing stories here we can educate the public as to just how pervasive domestic violence and sexual assault is, and how it crosses all cultural, racial, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic lines. I believe this is society’s collective problem, not simply a problem of those directly impacted. I believe there are 70 million blogs out there, and that one in four women will experience abuse in her lifetime. I believe we who are active in the blogosphere have a responsibility to listen to our friends and to spread the word, so that we can strip abusers of this critical power.
Please keep in mind that reading the stories of others may be very triggering for survivors, so check in with yourself before and after. If you have a dissociative disorder (like DID), think about how to check in with all parts of you, or make choices about which parts of you will view such information.
What do you think?
Would it further your healing to share your story with others?
Do you feel able to be a witness to the abuse stories of others?
Do you think that is important?
Why or why not?