Empowerment and What it Means to Me
By Jenn Rockefeller
Empowerment. It’s a word that carries such a strong positive connotation. For domestic violence survivors, the strong positive connotation can sometimes get lost in the shuffle when entering into their healing journey. They may not see the positive side of it all. They may initially miss out on understanding just how much becoming empowered can help them.
I am a survivor and to me, empowerment is a process that allows someone to evolve and become stronger and more confident. Empowerment isn’t just about becoming stronger and more confident. It’s also about re-learning to love yourself again because when we were in our situations, we were conditioned to believe the worst about ourselves. So after our situations, we need to find a way to rediscover how to love ourselves again.
For those who have not experienced domestic violence, becoming empowered is an easier process. But for survivors, that process can be exponentially more difficult because they face so many hurdles and challenges in their journey.
Empowerment is a process – a process that takes a timid, scared and broken survivor and with tenderness and care, can turn that survivor into a strong, confident person. Like any other process, it will take time. In healing and recovery communities, it is often asked when will the survivor be healed or why aren’t they healed already. What survivors must learn is that healing is a process.
This process can take place within yourself, as you help yourself evolve your self-confidence and the confidence you have in others. The process can also take place outside of yourself, too. I’ve always felt that when you help others, you help yourself at the same time. It’s a gratifying feeling to see a fellow survivor grow in their healing journey.
You see, I lost that self-confidence. I lost that feeling I had when I was in my situation, the feeling that I could do anything I set my mind to. My self-confidence was shattered. I felt lost, confused, and unsure. Even after I was out of my situation and began a healing journey, I still had no clue how to even begin to rediscover who I was before the abuse. He stole my innocence and my trust in the world.
My life truly began to turn around in July 2017 when I became involved with Break The Silence Against Domestic Violence. Everything that BTS offers lends to helping survivors rediscover who they are and build their confidence and that’s exactly what BTS has done for me. I am more confident, more outgoing, and more positive.
For fellow BTS survivor Sunny Lim, empowerment is a way to achieve the autonomy you want and need for yourself. “Empowerment means taking steps to achieve power/independence in your own life. Empowerment is different for everyone–some people feel empowered through setting & [sic] achieving personal goals or through music/creating art.”
BTS is involved with empowering survivors following their abusive relationships. The programs offered are second to none. From the groundbreaking Angel Run to the Survivor Sister Retreat, there is something for every survivor.
So to me, empowerment means taking charge of your healing journey and doing what you need to do in order to achieve your goals. Empowerment is confidence. Empowerment is determination. Empowerment is freedom.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org or chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777.