One of the ways we can #ChangeTheNarrative for Black survivors of domestic violence is by giving space for their voices and their stories. Not only does doing so allow for empowerment and healing for the survivor through sharing their stories, but it also helps bring light and awareness to the dark reality of domestic violence. Hearing the real stories of survivors helps take what someone may know only in statistics and put a real, human face and story to it.
Here are 3 ways you can help create this space to listen to and amplify Black survivor’s stories:
Create a safe space for survivors.
One of the most vital steps to giving this space for survivors’ stories is by creating a safe space for those stories to be told. Building a space that encourages open conversation is key. By creating an atmosphere of non-judgment, understanding, and listening - rather than speaking - survivors are more likely to feel comfortable and empowered to share their stories. Because of the stigmas often associated with domestic violence, often times survivors can step back from sharing their stories. Help create a space free of stigma and judgment for Black women to feel comfortable opening up about their pain and trauma, if they so choose to.
Host/attend events where stories are being shared to support and empower survivors.
Participate in or organize events with the specific focus of allowing survivors to share their stories. These events serve as a platform for survivors to share their experiences while being supported and empowered from a compassionate audience. Attending such events shows solidarity and offers encouragement and support to survivors.
Recently, the 2nd Annual Empowerment Arts Showcase was held, where 3 Black women who are domestic violence survivors and 1 Black woman who is a co-survivor were able to share their stories through art. These women shared their experiences, pain, and triumphs in a celebration of their resilience through mediums such as poetry, jazz music, and handmade art. This event not only gave space for these Black survivors to bring awareness to the realities of domestic violence and its impact, but also allowed for these women to be empowered through their art. You can learn more about this event here, or at @courageousaccess on Instagram or Facebook.
Read stories online/in the news of survivors sharing their stories.
Seek out stories of DV survivors online, in the news, or through reputable platforms. Sharing these stories not only spreads awareness but also offers empowerment to survivors. By amplifying these voices, we contribute to creating a society that acknowledges and supports survivors of domestic violence. Recently, RAINN shared my survivor story. You can read the story here.
By fostering an environment that acknowledges the prevalence of Black women affected by domestic violence and providing survivors with resources, support, and guidance, we can help create a path towards healing, resilience, and empowerment. We can work to build a world where survivors feel heard, supported, and empowered to reclaim their lives and their stories.