Breaking the Silence: The Challenges Faced by Survivors of Violence and Abuse in Sharing Traumatic Experiences

Sacha | The Justice Lark
5 min readFeb 25, 2023
Photo by Jessie McCall on Unsplash

Survivors of childhood or intimate partner violence or abuse often struggle with communicating their experiences. The trauma of such experiences, can be difficult to put into words and it can be a deeply distressing and overwhelming experience.

Trauma can impact the way that we process and remember events, making it challenging to recall specific details or articulate our feelings about what happened.

Survivors may fear that they will not be believed or that they will be stigmatised or treated differently if they speak out about their experiences. This can lead to a sense of isolation and make it even more difficult to communicate with others.

Sometimes, abuse can be so normalised, that for the longest time, a survivor may not even be aware that they can label their experiences as such too. This was certainly my experience: despite a professional career as a lawyer and significant education, I didn’t know that the psychological abuse, beatings, and neglect in my childhood could be labelled as abuse.

Learning that I could do so — that these events were not a product of my “badness” (as I’d been led to understand), was revelatory.

Unfortunately, by the time I came to these understandings, I also needed to label my ex husband’s abusive behaviours for what they were, too.

Being shoved into walls, threatened, isolated and stalked, were all things that I had already ultimately worked out I didn’t need or want in my life. Even after leaving that relationship though, it took years before I fully understood and could label his behaviours for what they were: violence and abuse.

Because these things had been normalised in my childhood and within society more broadly, I hadn’t understood the labels that could be applied to such conduct.

I was traumatised by them though and their after affects continue to haunt me today.

Despite my growing understandings around these things, to this day, I still struggle with communication about them too.

Like many survivors I have spoken with, or whose stories I have read over the years, my…

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Sacha | The Justice Lark

Passionate writer and researcher focused on promoting justice and equity, with emphasis on issues related to gender-based violence, trauma & mental health.