For a lot of people, the holidays are often the hardest part of the year. Many domestic violence survivors will tell you that in the thick of their pain, they would rather skip the entire holiday season. The holidays bring expectations of peace, joy and happiness and, for survivors, that is often the exact opposite of their lives.
The holidays bring financial hardships as people attempt to live up to their loved ones’ expectations by spending money they may not have, or worse, spending money they need for everyday expenses, like food and shelter.
Surviving domestic violence is truly a gift. Many survivors own their part of the decision to break their silence, but most will agree that they got out with help and support from a friend, family member or an organization that works to stop this epidemic. It is vital that everyone, not just survivors, understand their role in helping those who are living in or have escaped from domestic violence.
For those on the other side of breaking their silence, the responsibility is a mandate. It is imperative that survivors band together and remember what it was like in their darkest hour and give back to those behind in the journey of healing.
There are many practical ways to give back during the entire year, not just the holiday season. Domestic violence survivors speak a special language that nobody else understands. That language can be a nod of the head, a hug, a text message or just lending an ear. But in reality, survivors need financial support—especially during the holidays–and children often feel and notice those pressures.
Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence understands this need and accepts the mandate to help others. In that spirit, programs are established to fund different needs of survivors, including our Holidays of Hope program, which ensures that children affected by domestic violence receive gifts during the holiday season.
This program makes sure that children and teens who have experienced domestic violence feel the same love and joy during the holiday season as any child.
The goal of Holidays of Hope quite simple: adopt a family, raise money, and give the family the best holiday season possible. Once you start raising money, you’ll be astounded by how many people want to help. It only takes is a few social media posts and phone calls to reach your goal.
Survivors have a voice; survivors have a story and people like stories. They especially like stories of healing and redemption. People take the opportunity to be a part of a miracle very seriously. They hear the voices of the broken, bruised and healing, and they want to help. This is part of the mandate of survivors: use your voice, use your story—let them see what happened when somebody helped you. While few survivors want to relive their horror, the best way survivors can continue to heal is to give back to others what was given to them or quite possibly what wasn’t given to them.
Giving back to our sisters in need is what we do.
Because we are family.
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.