Written by Kudakwashe Nyakudya
Many victims and survivors of Domestic Violence & Abuse (DVA) desire to be completely free from the social pandemic. Freedom is a great opportunity to experience. However, the key here is where we want to be free to. If freedom is a place or destination, then we need to be intentionally responsible for how we live in that space, and how we remain in that space.
Freedom brings back the whole opportunity of living a full life that would have been dismantled by DVA. From my personal experience, the outcome of surviving DVA is that every area of life is devastated – with life broken into shattered pieces both internally and externally. Regaining multi-dimensional freedom is more of a journey than an instantaneous accomplishment.
Some areas of life accomplish freedom quicker than others, especially those that rely on a survivor’s external environment, like shelter away from the abuser; while 0thers take much longer, even longer than imagined like emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Thought processes seem to take more rehabilitation for them to change even when the victim is living away from the abuser. For survivors who then experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or any mental illness as a result of DVA, the challenge to achieving psychological freedom becomes greater.
Still, other areas of life have rebounds between accomplishing freedom and relapsing back to the place of devastation, especially where triggers for the rebounds manifest, like financial freedom, especially for those who experienced adverse financial and economic abuse.
Because freedom brings back the opportunity to experience the fullness of life, there is need to clearly elicit the vision and purpose a survivor has for her freedom. This makes freedom a foundational precept for a new life that is free from abuse and fear, requiring intentional responsibility.
Deliberately dividing life into different areas like health, the survivor would draw out the level of health they would want to attain (vision) , and the kind of life they would live in that state of health (purpose). This can also be done using pictures that depict the survivor’s goals to activate the reality of achievement in an imaginable way.
Intentional responsibility entails putting the steps and the structure to achieving all goals elicited. It can be small manageable steps laid out one by one (steps) in preparation for a greater goal, with the tools and environment (structure) that support reaching the greater goal.
Survivors of DVA could consider that freedom from the pandemic is not merely about ‘survival’ (coming out of it – ‘alive’), but about an emergence into something of greater worth, otherwise the freedom can eventually become meaningless, with some becoming repeat victims. Survival is the necessary first stage, with emergence adding unique value to it.
Through this way of thinking, freedom becomes a gateway to an ultimate goal, instead of the ultimate goal. Perpetrators are entirely accountable for all their violence and abuse, but survivors are entirely accountable for rebuilding and restoring their lives after leaving abusive relationships.
The intentional responsibility of freedom challenges survivors to focus on what to do in and with their freedom, something that brings tangible transformation in themselves and in their lives. Such achievements come with other advantages like character building, academic and or career milestones, and enriched contributions to society.
Meaningful freedom gained this way has the potential to grow! Achieving individual vision and purpose can become a stepping stone for further success in life, like preparations made for the children’s future, or even taking up bigger career opportunities or becoming a community champion.
Responsible freedom opens gates to a world where the sky is the limit, bringing true victory over DVA. DVA does not have to define a negative direction of a survivor’s life, as they have as much potential within them to soar as anybody else in society.
© Kudakwashe Nyakudya 2016. All Rights Reserved.