By Pastor Char Proper
If you would have asked me 10 years ago where I’d be today my answer most surely would not be here as one recovered from domestic violence and sexual assault.
The definition of recovery by Oxford Languages:
- A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.
- The action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.
“1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will be victims of severe intimate partner contact sexual and physical violence. (NCADR.org)”
If you or someone you know has already left for safety or is contemplating leaving an abusive situation and you need help please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.7233 (SAFE).
In working now with victims of intimate partner domestic violence and sexual assault— I share these “tips” that were essential to my being recovered and whole and thriving today.
What do I want?
What are my physical, mental and spiritual needs?
For me, this was the hardest area to navigate as I did not have a voice for over 35 years and I was a constant caretaker for others. This taking care of you is not selfish or narcissistic— it’s necessary. You cannot adequately quench the thirst of others when you yourself are dehydrated. I had lost sight of my former self, identity, and worth. I was fearful and unsure at first because I had come to believe the lie that I was less than, stupid and could not make it on my own. It was hard for me to answer the question: what did I want? I had no idea even what I wanted because of my voice, my choice, my opinion was either not heard, or it was manipulated to another’s way for years. But as you keep walking it gets easier and fun! I promise!
Who do I need?
I say this all the time. I have the best Tribe. I give them all the credit in the world for entering in and running the long-distance race of my situation faithfully by my side.
Isolation and going it alone is not advised as you navigate your recovery. Since the tendency of perpetrators is to isolate their victims from family, friends, and outside eyes and ears— you may find yourself, in the beginning, feeling lost and alone. Please continue to reach out and never believe the lie that you are beyond help or being loved.
Here is a suggested list of people you need to surround yourself with as you recover.
Trusted friends, relatives, pastors, counselors, lawyers (Sterk Family Law, my personal choice), resources, programs, and safety plans from domestic violence shelters and rape crises centers, and available civil help in Illinois as found in “Domestic Violence Stops With You” by Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group.
What can help me forward to an independent, secure, and strong future?
Identify your strengths and talents— yes you have them! A great way to start to better know these and yourself is to start by taking “free” online personality, strengths, and gifts assessment tests.
Identify your ambitions and desires. What did you want to be when you grew up? It’s never too late. What has God placed in your heart?
Identify goals with a timeline. Realize that growth will have setbacks.
So give yourself grace (God loves you and He has grace for you), cry when you need to and breathe!
All the love and prayers on your road to RECOVERY!
Pastor Char Proper is an ordained minister through AGIF Fellowship and holds a master’s degree from Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. She spends her days pointing people to God through preaching, teaching, marrying, burying, coaching, and advocating for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
To contact: James 5:16 Ministries on Facebook or at PO Box 186 Crete, Illinois 60417
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