Recover or Move Forward?

Recovery is a word we hear quite often.

Especially when we think of an individual who has had an operation, been in hospital etc..

We also hear the word when we read about celebrities and those in the spotlight who have struggled with addiction. That they are now in “recovery.”

It’s a word that has powerful meaning.

Domestic abuse and the language we use when we talk about it is something I’m particularly keen to see evolve and change.

So much language around abuse has a bias that people often don’t realise is there.

But victims and survivors do.

They feel the judgement, it’s palpable.

For a victim or survivor of domestic abuse, it’s a very lonely place to be when they feel and sense that the world is judging them.

But here’s the thing I can never understand. How can you judge a situation you know nothing about? Judging someone who has or is experiencing domestic abuse and all it encompasses implies you know more than than anyone else.

And how can we judge another human being, when we ourselves could be experiencing domestic abuse and don’t even realise it.

The word recovery is often used when talking about victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

And I just want to say this.

If someone who has experienced abuse is comfortable with the word recovery being used when describing their situation, then that is their right and choice to feel this best describes where they are at.

But using “recovery” as a blanket term when talking about victims and survivors can be problematic and in the end, damaging.

Recovery, as I said earlier refers to someone who has been ill or has experienced some form of addiction.

A victim or survivor of domestic abuse hasn’t had a cold. They are not recovering from an illness.

Domestic abuse is something that will stay with the person for the rest of their lives. They don’t “get over it” or “move on. ”

But what an individual can do is “move forward.”

Minute by minute, hour by hour. Day by day.

Some days will be more progressive than others.

And that’s OK!

Learning to live with what has happened to them and say, “but this doesn’t define me” is one of the most empowering things a victim or survivor can do.

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou

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