I am happy to use the word victim to describe myself in my prior life when I lived with abuse.

I was a Victim

Describing myself as someone who was a victim, to me seems fitting; given I spent most of my life being victimised. I do not see admitting that as a weakness, in fact I see the opposite. For decades, I was abused, degraded and treated less than human and I am here strong, independent and proud of who I am.

It took strength and resilience to survive

For me if I minimise my experience by refusing to see myself as a victim in the past, I am also minimising the strength it took to survive. To literally find the will to breathe in and out. Sometimes getting through the next minute seemed like an insurmountable mountain. I am proud that I found the strength to climb those mountains one at a time.

Reaching out for help terrified me.

I am grateful I found the courage to reach out for help. The world had not been kind to me and being vulnerable and trusting took more courage than I believed I had. The crisis workers, counsellors, social workers, Dr’s who were there for me as I tentatively entered a world free of abuse. A world so alien to me it scared me more than living with abuse. Yet without them true healing would not have been possible.

I am a survivor.

I am a survivor, this is something that defines my sense of self. I found the courage day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute to keep going. Understanding the magnitude of what I had been through was possibly worse than going through the abuse in the first place.

I was victimised.

I was victimised, which made me a victim. I survived which makes me a survivor. It takes great inner strength to survive being victimised and acknowledging my victim-hood makes that pride possible.

Being referred to as a victim is a personal choice.

For those who have experienced abused and survived it is personal and how they like to refer to their experience is a unique and personal and it is up to them to define it, no one else.

See the humanity in a person not the label.

So, when talking someone who has or is living with abuse. Remember to see the individual not simply a ‘victim’ of domestic violence.

Lisa McAdams

About Lisa: Lisa is a survivor of domestic violence who shares her story openly; along with knowledge and understanding of abuse and her experience from her time in corporate to help companies develop an organisational culture of empathy and understanding.

She helps by bringing insights on this complex and emotional subject, ensuring managers understand the issue, the signs and how to communicate with those impacted by domestic violence.

Lisa is passionate about educating workplaces so they can ensure women in abusive relationships remain in the workplace. Because employment improves outcomes and can ultimately save lives.

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