The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a survivor as 1. To remain alive or in existence, 2. To continue to function or prosper. Reading the definition makes it sound so simple and easy just to be.

For me to truly appreciate being a survivor, I had to first become a victim, a victim of domestic violence. I had to be stripped of everything I knew and believed. I would lose what I knew as my dignity, my faith, my trust, my strength, my security, my marriage, my home and my future. After I was kidnapped and raped by my ex-husband, I knew I could not or would not ever be the same person again. I had to start over. I had to learn how to survive for myself, my daughter and for other victims of domestic violence, but everything in me and around me hurt and ached. It was painful to remember how to exist. I felt if I started to live again, I would hurt again. I had to sop the cycle.

To begin my journey to heal, I left. I moved back home with my daughter to escape the emotional, physical and financial hardships we were trying to endure on our own. Starting over sounded exciting but it was also very frightening. All my pain followed me home. In order to preserve my family, I had to find help. I was fortunate to find the Family Justice Center. After touring the center, I immediately knew I was safe at home! The Family Justice Center has been instrumental in helping my daughter and I cope with all the domestic violence effects in your life…everything. With their help we have been able to preserve through every moment, thought and action. We no longer suffer in silence.

It has been over five years since my abuse occurred. The road to freedom has not been easy. Each day I get through, I am a survivor. Only with the help of my family, friends and the Family Justice Center, I remain alive and in existence, happily functioning and prospering again.