Day 24 – Strength of a Survivor: Angelique’s Story
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Angelique is among 11 fierce women who participated in the Return of Social Change Documentary. Watch here!
What is your personal experience with gender-based violence (this may include domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, etc)?
In my early 20s, I experienced 2 sexual assualts by 2 different men. When I was 24, I began dating a man, who later became extremely abusive. By the end of our 2 year relationship, I had experienced physical, verbal, mental, sexual,and financial abuse by the same man who claimed to love me. Everything came to a head when I tried to leave on March 23, 2011. After being under his physical control for the afternoon, I finally was able to talk him into letting me visit a friend, in order to actually escape. I hid out at a hotel that night, waiting for my mom to drive up from 7 hours away to help me. We went back to my apartment the next day to get my stuff so I can move back home. That was the day I could have easily lost my life, facing the man I loved as he charged at me with a knife at his side. I was ready to give up and let him end my life. I was tired of the life I was living. Had my mom not been there, March 24 could have been the date of my death. Now, it’s my freedom anniversary.
What advice would you give other survivors who have experienced similar situations as you?
When I first got out of my abusive relationship. I was in a low place. I was in hiding in a different city, since I was looking for me; I felt alone. I had never known anyone who had been through what I had been through and thought no one could understand the way I was feeling. If I could give survivors any advice, what I wish I had been given when I first ended that relationship, is that you are not alone. As sad as it is, there are many women and men who have experienced abuse and know what you are going through. Reach out to other survivors, talk about what you are feeling and what you have experienced. It’s easy to feel like you will never get passed what happened to you. Any abuse is traumatic and can be depilating. Don’t rush yourselves in the healing process…allow yourselves the time you need. I never thought I would get through what happened to me. But, it is now 5 years later and I’m okay.
Why do you feel it is important to empower women?
All women need to know their worth. No one should ever make another human being feel less than a person. Abusers are masters at tearing down a person to their core, leaving them vulnerable and feeling defeated and worthless. It is so important to empower all women, whether they are currently in an abusive situation or not, to know their worth and how valuable they are. No one should ever make another person feel as though their life doesn’t matter.
Why do you support Break the Silence against Domestic Violence?
I have been a part of Break the Silence since almost the beginning. I came in contact with Kristen and her page about a year after I left. I was in dark place, so utterly depressed about what I had experienced and how I felt. Through the organization, I attended survivor retreats, workshops, and galas and met an amazing new family of survivor sisters. Where I am now in my healing, compared to 4-5 years ago, has a lot to do with Kristen, BTS and my survivor sisters. I know that I will never be completely healed from the trauma I lived through and the PTSD I experience, almost daily. But, I’m in a much better place in my life. I’m surviving every day. I was given a second chance at this life and I am going to do my best to live it.
Join us in embracing and celebrating the strength of 1 survivor every day for 31 days. May their strength inspire you, move you, and motivate you to take a stand against domestic violence.
Submit your Strength of a Survivor Story here.