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 McAdams is a domestic violence strategist and solutions consultant who through her company Lead the Way implements domestic violence workplace solutions into businesses.

It has been said, you need at least 10,000 hours experience to become an expert in something. And with over 390,000 hours lived experience of abuse, over 100,000 hours working in corporate and over 80,000 hours learning and researching the consequences and outcomes of domestic violence and how to solve these issues, Lisa really can lay claim to being one of the leading experts in her field.

Lisa is considered a thought leader in the space of domestic violence workplace solutions for the comprehensive policies and training packages she implements into corporate businesses. But also for her blogs, podcast and as a media commentator.

Lisa knows corporates and domestic violence and has combined these two areas of expertise to help corporates implement the policies and training to support staff, improve company culture whilst at the same time improving productivity and profitability.

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