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Sharing my experiences has been integral in helping me heal. Understanding that DV comes in different forms and is not always a bruised face or broken rib was hard to comprehend, until it happened to me. Overcoming my guilt and learning to forgive myself and others is a daily battle, but I strive for strength and remember that I got away. I can build myself anew and help those who still feel pain by listening, sharing and helping in any way I can.
* The following is an update from the artist,
submitted on July 8, 2013:
When my contact at A Window Between Worlds asked me to participate in the I CAN WE CAN movement a few months ago, I felt honored. Then, I looked at the website and saw so many beautifully crafted hands. The outpouring of feeling, of emotion, of artistic expression was way beyond my capabilities. My hand would fail in comparison. I believed in the project, so I ventured on with trying to be creative. I was scared when I created my I CAN hand. I didn’t own glitter or markers, but used nail polish and a sharpie. That was the best manicure though; I have thought about it a lot since.
I wrote on my hand that I CAN “not feel guilty.” That is so important for victims of domestic violence. Society, abusers, and people who have never felt the brutal pain inflicted upon them by a person who was supposed to love them, make us feel guilty; after all, it’s our fault. We chose the wrong person to love. We asked for it. We are the stupid ones who let “IT” happen. I stayed with my abuser because he made me believe he had a hold over me: physically, financially, and emotionally. Without him, I was absolutely nothing. Years later, I still sometimes think that he loved me. It infuriates me, because I now know how damaging that love was to me.
It has been four months since I created my I CAN hand. Without realizing it at the time, the project made me think and reassess. Not feeling guilty is importantly paramount. Now, I want to forgive.
Forgiveness is a weighty word that is so superfluously used. What does it mean to a victim of domestic violence to forgive? Who shall I forgive? I CAN forgive my mother who let her boyfriend sexually assault me and physically abuse my sister. I CAN forgive the man who pointed a gun at me, called me a whore and locked me in a room. I CAN forgive broken bones, ripped jeans and blood. I CAN forgive the man who only wanted me to dance because it made him look good. I CAN forgive. I CAN forgive Myself. I dance now, not because I am made to, but, because I CAN.
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