Emily’s Journey: Survivor Spotlight (Part 2)
This week, we feature part two of Barrier Free Living board member Emily’s inspiring story. After finding a safe space for healing at our Freedom House and Secret Garden programs, Emily began the next steps in her journey.
Forgiveness & Healing
The abuse that I survived was unbearable. I thought I’d never get out. Even after I began my true healing, I was still haunted by my abuser. I’d see him in my dreams, and carry the pain of it around with me, reviewing the experience daily in my mind. I realized through years of therapy that if I wanted true happiness and peace to live life to the fullest, I could not be strangled with anger.
All the work I did with Barrier Free Living facilitated my journey toward self-discovery.
I learned to express my feelings, to say what is on my mind without the fear of being judged. I discovered speech: the discovery of desire for self-hood, for others, for community, and for a meaningful place in society.
I got a GED book and I taught myself, then took the exams. Eventually, I became a social worker. I give huge credit to Barrier Free Living for saving my life. Above all I have learned to forgive my abusers.
The reason I want to serve as a Barrier Free Living (Freedom House) Board member is to contribute to something meaningful; and to allow something meaningful to contribute to me.
Serving on this board and bringing my knowledge, energy, and expertise to the table is something that can not only benefit this organization but me as well. This is a single honor and words alone cannot express what this means to me.
I know about the needs of Domestic Violence survivors. My experience can connect me with something bigger than me by giving them hope. Because of my pain I am a compassionate person. I know we start out as victims, but we outgrow that label as we “triumph” and move past the immediate aftermath of the crime. And we become survivors.
*The photo is representational, due to confidentiality issues.