Day 21: Strength of a Survivor (Laura’s Story)

The strength of a survivor is beyond this world. Overcoming mental and emotional destruction feels treacherous and sometimes impossible. Believing you can overcome will allow you to continue taking another step forward. Keep moving forward, grab our hand if you need the support! – Kristen Paruginog, Founder of Break the Silence against Domestic Violence

LAURA’S STORY:

12 - SOS

What is your personal experience with gender-based violence (this may include domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, etc)?
I was a victim of domestic violence for 13 years. Not just physical abuse, but sexual, verbal and psychological abuse. I was out of that relationship for 13 years, then I lost my sister and my niece to domestic violence. What’s so ironic is that my ex went to prison in May; I lost my angels in May. I endured 13 years of abuse and they died in 20(13)
What advice would you give other survivors who have experienced similar situations as you?
You cannot change him. Staying for the kids should not be an option. The longer you stay, the more your children remember. I went back more times than I care to admit and every time it only got worse. Never confront your abuser when you decide to leave. Make a plan. Do it when he’s not home and won’t be home for a while. That’ll give you plenty of time to get out safely. Have a safe place to stay until you can get on your feet. Have a protective order in place.
Why do you feel it is important to empower women?
It’s important to empower women because it helps build their trust and self esteem again. It helps them to see that they can still survive even after abuse.
Why do you support Break the Silence against Domestic Violence?
I support BTS for many reasons. This is a great organization that helped me when I lost my sister and niece. I felt welcomed by the ladies. Kristen is always there when you need her and she always includes my angels in every event. It makes me so happy to see that someone else, besides our family, sees that our angels are never forgotten. I love BTS and I’m so glad I found them!

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