Survivor Story: She Left Everything Behind to Start Over

Submitted by: *Patty, Survivor

Some areas of the world are so remote that they can only be reached by plane. Residents in these villages are often self-reliant, resilient, and close with others in their community. In some ways, their survival may depend upon it.

While some may find this lifestyle peaceful, there is a dark side to the traumas that occur. Victims and survivors are often cut off from resources that could save their lives, and the community does not always respond favorably when an abuser is arrested. Survivor Patty shares her experience of surviving – and fleeing – domestic violence in a remote village. Find out about the measures she took to protect herself, how that impacted her life, and where she is now.

I left a remote village in 1997. My husband had gotten drunk and tried to kill me – again. It was hard to leave a village I had lived in for so many years. When we married, I was just 21; I am now 66.

During the years I lived in the village, I saw more violence against women and children than I can tell about. We were a one-hour flight away from any doctor, grocery store, and even law enforcement. If you had your husband arrested, the village would shun you. We did not have running water and had to cut our own wood for heat or cooking. It made you very vulnerable, especially mothers.

I arrived in the Pacific Northwest and felt like someone from another planet. I found work, and I have been out of the shelter and have had a job for over twenty years now. They had to change my social security number and my name, and they sealed it. All the work history I previously had, earnings toward social security, and retirement were lost.

To this day, I live alone. I have PTSD and, consequently, I do not trust anyone enough to sleep in shared housing. While I have worked through a lot, I have new problems to overcome in order to survive, as well as health issues that developed from past abuse.

My best advice to other survivors: set goals every week. Do not sit idle for very long, because it helps depression take root and does nothing to help you survive later. Be careful how much information you share with others. Learn to make good decisions with research to back you up.

The more you succeed, the more you will believe in your ability to succeed. I must say that God has held my hand through so much, and I realize prayer is for me.

*Survivor’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

**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, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.

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