Written by Kudakwashe Nyakudya
Strengthening your character after surviving Domestic Violence & Abuse (DVA), is confronted with many challenges. One of those challenges is FEAR! This fear is different from all the other fears you experience while you are still a victim of DVA. It is the fear of your former perpetrator, brought about by his relentless pursuit after you, after you have fled from him hoping to begin a new life free from violence and abuse.
This fear can be validated. Media informs us too many times there are cases where both adult and child survivors have been killed or grievously harmed by their former perpetrators. In fact, a third of DVA incidents occur post-separation. The Crown Prosecution Service actually cites that victims of DVA can be subjected to the highest risk of harm and further violence at that point. They add that stalking, harassment and threats of violence are very common, and that numerous violent ‘domestic’ incidents occur after victims flee from their abuser.
In the same light, United Kingdom government, and other agencies, recognise that activities of perpetrators in pursuit of their victims after their victims flee from them, are still identified as DVA. DVA does not necessarily end at the point victims flee, unless perpetrators stop their violence & abuse. Therefore there are also laws in place to assist professionals and agencies to deal with this type of DVA, and to aid in the protection of victims, during the transitional period.
The reality is that when a victim flees from their perpetrator, it is their hope that that would bring an end to their subjectivity to DVA. However the reality of being pursued is overwhelmingly daunting, and brings with it a persecuting fear that one needs to overcome for them to be able to rebuild their life. In my personal experience I encountered this fear, which was qualified by the relentless pursuit my ex-husband executed against me, through very diverse ways.
I had read the biblical story of Pharaoh’s vengeful pursuit after the Israelites, who had left Egypt after he had eventually commanded them to leave Egypt. The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. My experience took me through an encounter where my perpetrator became a type of “Pharaoh” to me, because of his relentless pursuit. As a result, I lived with the persecuting fear the Israelites must have experienced when Pharaoh, with his full army and chariots, came pursuing after them in the desert, at a time they thought they had gained their freedom from slavery.
The other reality that I was confronted with was that I was full of the passion to rebuild my life. I did not want the relentless pursuit of Pharaoh to keep me from developing into who I wanted to be, and from achieving my renewed dreams. I also had goals I wanted to work through for my children. Gripped with fear, I spent a great deal of time reflecting and considering what I ought to do.
After many months, I had a light bulb moment! I realised that the persecuting fear had become a very great enemy to me, and it was keeping imprisoned from working towards rebuilding my life, and achieving my goals. I had replaced faith and hope with fear and despair, and I was feeding that fear and despair daily with more fear and despair. Pharoah was still relentlessly pursuing me with his army and chariots, but I decided to let go of fear and despair, and take back faith and hope. I decided to believe that whatever Pharaoh was doing would not keep me from my reaching destiny.
Faith and hope now became like invaluable treasures to me, that I had to keep holding on to. As I embraced them, I went back to my drawing board and began to plan my course with a mindset empty of that persecuting fear. I also decided to walk towards my destiny ignoring any tendencies to become fearful of Pharaoh again, even if the fear appeared validated. I realised that overcoming the fear of Pharaoh was crucial for me to regain the courage, vision, boldness and strength, I needed for my journey to the new fully successful life.
If you are where I used to be, take courage to let go of the persecuting fear of Pharaoh. This kind of fear cripples you from making progress in rebuilding your life – after surviving DVA. Do not allow it to master you. But become the master of your own destiny without allowing it to deter you. The fear of Pharaoh can be validated, but overcoming it strengthens your character, and gives you a powerful re-building block for your future.
© Kudakwashe Nyakudya 2013. All Rights Reserved.