By Amy Watson
Nature versus nurture: it is a thing. Generational trauma is currently being studied so that professionals can predict and prevent repeated traumas and even treat potential medical conditions associated with trauma experienced by someone’s parent or even their grandparent. In many ways, it is safe to assume that trauma experienced even in utero is played out in changes in brain chemistry and DNA in all three generations.
Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Violence played out in homes in front of children significantly increases the risk that those children will repeat what they witness. Witnessing domestic violence can impact a child’s ability to develop coping skills and practice self- care. It is important for both survivors and victims to understand the importance of breaking the cycle of domestic violence and there is so much hope in the ability to do that, especially with resources that are available.
Hope is a powerful thing and it is found in organizations like Break The Silence Against Domestic Violence. It is not just the mission of BTS to stop domestic violence; we work to eradicate it. But until a such time, we will provide support to victims in their quest to find safety.
But the real work of this organization comes after victims are out of danger and in a place of healing and redemption. Short of saving lives, BTS helps victims stop the cycle that will continue unless intervention occurs.
Here are a few programs BTS offers to survivors across the country:
BTS is currently taking applications for the 2019 Survivor Sister Retreat, which will be held in Colorado Springs, CO. This annual retreat empowers, educates, and connects survivors through various workshops and activities that encourage attendees to step outside their comfort zone.
Our program best fits survivors who:
- Already left abusive relationships and are currently not in an unhealthy relationship.
- Experienced trauma, particularly domestic violence or sexual abuse.
- Are open to the ideal of challenging their “normal” way of thinking to embrace new ideas.
- Are welcoming, loving, kind to others, and accepting of others views and differences. We welcome a diverse group each year and want to ensure all sisters feel comfortable.
- Are seeking medical attention for any mental health concerns.
- Are aware of triggers and the way your body may react to stress and anxiety.
The BTS helpline is fully operated by survivors. While there are limitations to helplines, this is a phenomenal program offered to educate and support survivors and victims break their cycle. You can call our helpline and speak with a survivor at (855) 287-1777.
BTS has an amazing social media presence with over 100,000 followers on Facebook alone. Our social media allows people to join and interact with national and local communities of survivors. Social media allows survivors meet each other, develop friendships and and share their experiences with one another.
Outside of resources offered by BTS, there are other organizations, agencies, and communities that work to help survivors.
Many have found a respite in professional counseling for both the victim and children of victims. A professional counselor can help generate healing, self worth and a sense of responsibility for the survivors part in breaking the cycle. You can find a mental health professional near you here.
In addition to services provided by an organization like BTS and professional counseling, many survivors find hope in their faith and places of worship. Many local churches or places of worship will provide a safe place for survivors to heal, build self worth and support them in breaking the cycle of abuse.
There are also many local non-profit organizations committed to investing in the lives of survivors and the importance of breaking the cycle of abuse. Many of these organizations have their own counseling services, support groups, and advocates who can provide survivors with emotional support and help them break their cycle. You can find your local domestic violence agency here.
It is important to realize that there is, in fact, a cycle of abuse—that scientifically speaking some of this is thrust on us decades before we are born. But it is more important to realize that there is hope and progress in breaking the cycle. For many survivors, breaking the cycle is a daily decision. For those of us who have broken our cycles this, the desire is that everyone who reads this understands that it is not only possible, but probable that the heart beating in your chest is all the courage you need to stop this horrible epidemic in its tracks.
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 or chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777.