Healing and coping with the aftermath of domestic violence

Photo: 123rf
Photo: 123rf

Healing and coping with the aftermath of domestic violence

Stripes Okinawa

The heavy weight of trauma can bear down on those who have suffered from domestic violence or toxic relations regardless of whether it was with a boyfriend, girlfriend, relative, coworker, or superior. For victims, the aftermath can be one of confusion where you don’t want to burden those closes to you. It can be incredibly difficult to make friends and even more so to trust anyone when it feels like everyone has turned their back on you.

Every year, domestic violence affects about one in four women and one in nine men in the United States. This totals to about 10 million Americans per year, but those are only the cases that have been reported. For 10 million, there are thousands more who never report assaults or domestic violence in their homes or relationships for fear and shame associated with the incident.

As devastating as these cases, reported or not, may be, there is hope, life is not over.

The weight of trauma is heavy and follows victims around day in and day out. Though suffering is often shrugged off as a part of human life, it transcends day-to-day, and it is affected by many environmental, societal, economic and governmental factors.

Victims may be crippled by fear, feel rejected, or lack moral support from their loved ones. Because of these, many victims may become defensive or aggressive when others approach. Crimes such as domestic violence can instill a fight or flight response for survivors and to heal from the trauma takes mental and emotional stamina and time.

When our friends or loved ones are dealing with these types of traumas, it is important to take a step back and listen to their needs. It might be difficult to understand that anger might stem from trauma, and for survivors, they might be surprised by their sudden change in temper or reactions to others or situations.

Unfortunately, anger, depression, stress and suicidal thoughts go hand in hand with surviving trauma. Healing is a process, talking to someone, seeking help from a professional and doing things for self-care are essential tools to help with coping.

Learning to socialize with others again after a scary and traumatic event in someone’s life takes a lot of courage, practice, time, effort and patience. Victims need time to learn that they are not alone, and that the physical, emotional, mental or financial trauma they endured is not their fault.

Trauma survivors need friends who are allies to lift them up and support them. As human beings, we are all responsible for each other and for preventing violence. If you see something, say something. Protect other people and stand up for other people who are being harassed or bullied. Give people a chance to show how they can benefit mankind and how they can be a productive member of society. The world needs to stop tearing people down.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, please utilize the following resources:

Domestic Violence Support | The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Telephone: 1-800-799-SAFE(7233)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Telephone: 1-800-273-8255


Spc. Colene Copeland in the field.

SPC Colene Copeland is a pre-med student and engineer who is serving active duty in the United States Army. She has a Master of Science degree in Aviation and Space Education and is currently working on a PhD in Engineering and pre-medical studies. She is passionate about helping others to have a better life. Follow along as she writes about issues important to her.

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