. (joonzmoon) wrote in _survivors_,

Thought-Stirring Question: "Coming Out" as an Abuse Survivor


(Yikes!  Almost forgot to post the Thought-Stirring Question this week, so my apologies for the delay!  :-)

Everyone knows what pink ribbons are for.  They line the hallways of schools, show up on the backs of cars, appear on websites and t-shirts and socks and jackets, pop up on umbrellas, and take the shape of key chains, jewelry and even dog tags.  In October, breast cancer awareness walks take place all over the US with events in most major cities and participants who are willing to raise thousands of dollars on their own just to have a chance to take part.  There is even a patron saint for breast cancer survivors.

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Yet, far fewer people have ever seen a purple (or teal) awareness ribbon, nor have any idea what either is for.

The competition between breast cancer awareness and domestic violence awareness in October raises some interesting questions about the idea of balancing the need for advocacy with personal privacy and emotional boundaries:

* Are you open about your status as an abuse survivor?  Why (not)?

* Does your decision to withhold or publicize this information change or vary depending on the people you're with, the place you're in, the situation at hand, etc.?  How?

* With what kinds of audiences, if any--public, private, friends, colleagues, family, strangers in person, strangers o
nline, etc.--are you most comfortable being "out" around and to what extent?

* If you have "come out" as an abuse survivor, was there a specific incident or cause that triggered your decision?  Alternatively, if you've chosen not to tell others, was that due to a specific experience you've had?  Are there any interesting and/or overwhelmingly positive or negative experiences you want to share about having chosen to share or withhold your story?

* How would you determine where to draw an appropriate line between "coming out" as an abuse survivor and advocate and maintaining personal emotional boundaries?  How would you describe your comfort level with talking about your experiences versus any desire you might have to speak out?  Is there any situation in which you would feel obligated to speak out despite feeling uncomfortable about it?

* Do you think that the decision to "come out" as an abuse survivor has any relation to or effect on the stages of recovery?  Do you think there is any benefit to telling or withholding your story at varying points in your recovery?

Tags: telling others, thought stirring post
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