By Amy Watson
A hallmark characteristic of domestic violence is isolation. Oftentimes, victims may think that they are the only person in the world being harmed by people who are supposed to love them. Abusers isolate their victims and that can sometimes be just as bad as the abuse itself. Victims often live in fight or flight until somebody steps in and helps them break their silence. It is at that time that healing begins, and after healing, there is a burning desire to change the narrative. Except many survivors do not know how to affect change on one of society’s greatest ills.
As victims begin to heal and the fog lifts, some things begin to come into focus, and suddenly survivors may think about the next victim. And most assuredly, there will be a next victim. It seems like the first place to start in the war against domestic violence, but is it wise to get involved? Is it safe? Is it the survivor’s job, or would somebody else be best equipped to help? The answer is not simple and it can be as complicated as it is emotionally charged.
BTS would like to invite you to a front row seat to a staggering event within our own ranks. Sometimes questions get answered for us, and we would like to invite you to watch BTS founder Kristen Paruginog navigate exactly what it means to get involved with another victim. After a number of years as a survivor, Paruginog received a phone call from the District Attorney asking if she would be willing to testify against her abuser, as he had been officially charged with acts of domestic violence. Paruginog will be as involved as they let her, and we will be pulling back the curtain and giving a glimpse of what it may be like to get involved with justice as it pertains to the abuser. There is no doubt that the emotions are and will be raw as she visits places in her heart and mind that she hasn’t in many years. Suddenly, the chief Survivor Sister will most probably meet face to face with the person that harmed her to the point that spurred her to start BTS
It is important to note that Paruginog will be entering into this situation with a lot of support among our Survivor Sister Nation and she is testifying in court, which is conceivably “safe.” She also does not live in the geographical area anymore. Miles can be a survivor’s very best friend during times like these.
Confronting the “next victim” of your abuser without such protection can prove dicey and probably dangerous. Paruginog’s journey will teach us much, and we are so glad you are along for the ride. We will all learn, and this will open up conversations about the next victim, and maybe all of us will walk away with some clarity in this lane. There are no clear-cut answers as it pertains to getting involved. Like everything else, each person has to make their own choice and there are many choices in this situation. In this series of blogs, we will address the prudency of getting involved as we also walk along Paruginog in her journey. We will all be watching and are grateful to Paruginog for letting us have a glimpse of this journey. She will walk empowered; she will speak empowered because she is empowered. And that is the most important thing to remember in your own case. Your abuser can’t take your power away, living as a survivor proves that. If survivors can use their empowerment to bring victims into our realm of survivors, while also remaining safe, that is the ultimate fruit of empowerment.