The marks staged in this photo become real for many; silence does not solve anything.
Buena Park High School

Domestic Violence truths revealed by survivors

Domestic violence sits on the list as one of the experiences that most, if not all, people believe no one should go through. It leaves traumatizing memories for both victims and witnesses. Additionally, it can happen to anyone at any given moment.

Nancy, a fellow advocate speaking through the National Domestic Violence Hotline, shared examples of the many forms of domestic abuse, as well as why people tend to stay in toxic relationships.

“There are many acts of domestic abuse, from being controlling, being physically aggressive, threatening to kill you, etc. People tend to feel forced to stay due to many reasons. A person may be afraid of what will happen if they decide to leave the relationship,” she said, “A few other reasons can be a victim might also be financially dependent on their abusive partner.”

Nancy emphasized the impact money has on partners staying together and the fear that comes from leaving someone they are physically dependent on.

“Without money, access to resources or even a vicinity to go to, it can appear impossible for them to leave the relationship. This feeling of helplessness can be particularly strong if the person lives with their abusive partner,” she said. “Further adding on, when someone is physically dependent on their abusive partner, they can feel that their well-being is connected to the relationship. This dependency could heavily influence their decision to stay in an abusive relationship.”

Another anonymous commenter shared an individual experience with domestic abuse to spread awareness to others who might have to deal with abuse.

“Domestic violence is a recurring issue throughout my life. I’ve been in two, almost three, violent relationships. Therefore I strongly believe that this is an issue that should be taken seriously even though it’s a very sensitive topic,” the commenter said.

They also further drove the point of how difficult it is to truly leave a partner who is abusing them.

“Many people would tell me, ‘Why don’t you just leave them already?’ or ‘You’re like that because you want to’ as if it really was that easy to leave. They didn’t realize that it’s easier said than done. They didn’t realize the constant screaming, yelling, the calling of names has been a part of my daily lifestyle,” the survivor said.

Another aspect that is quickly forgotten is how a person is raised. The more accustomed someone is to abuse at a young age, the more likely they are to believe it is normality.

“I was accustomed to physical and emotional abuse because I was exposed to such cruelty at a very young age. I thought I had a regular relationship because of what I would see as a child in my own household,” the individual said. “Domestic violence is a very traumatic experience. I personally found that it was important to have a good support system such as friends and/or family. In my case, all I had was my friends. For those going through domestic abuse, as a victim such as I did, myself, I highly encourage them to speak out and seek resources. Everything might seem hard right now, but I promise you you’ll be glad you did.”

Mary Ann Padilla, a psychologist on the Buena Park High School campus offered a suggestion for those who suffer similar situations to what she described.

“There are domestic violence shelters that women can go to, and I referred many women to them. They can even take their children,” Padilla said. “Before, I think because of the community resources that were so limited — and women had financial issues — that, even though they wanted to leave or they were going to go, they didn’t have money. They didn’t find places that would take them in, especially if they had children. Where would they go to? The male was the main source of income the provider for the family.”

She spoke of “progress” saying more shelters take women and children and allow them to get their lives back on track.

Professionals encourage victims or witnesses of domestic violence to reach out and seek help. The situation might seem tough or impossible to leave behind, but it has happened.

Victims and witnesses and those seeking to educate themselves can find many resources online. Individuals can access the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (1-800-799-7233) or they can go online and find the nearest shelter.