many of us exist with such internalised misogyny that we’re still under the illusion that abuse is a woman’s fault, or that it makes her weak. this is a narrative that is fed to us through the stigma of abuse, and is what keeps us quiet about it. for a lot of women, accepting that they’ve been abused means accepting that they were weak, or that they’re a victim. having been the victim of abuse, and being a victim are different things - and it’s important to recognise them as such. being a victim has a lot of negative connotations in our society - which is something to think about in a much wider context than just abuse - but we have to be able to recognise that something bad happening to us is in no way a measure of our character.
we have to be able to understand that someone choosing to enact anger and rage on us is not correlated to us as a person. it isn’t because we weren’t strong enough, or brave enough, or tough enough. we don’t treat people who’ve broken their legs like they’re victims. the pity is one of the hardest things i’ve come up against. hearing that something bad happened to you shouldn’t make people feel sorry for us, and it can be hard to reconcile yourself to the fact that some people will view you in that way. what i’ve learned, however, is that most of the time it comes from a place of discomfort and awkwardness, rather than viewing you as someone to be pitied.
it’s also hard to watch your abuser go on supported and befriended by all the people you knew before - but more on that another day. what it shouldn’t do, however, is allow you to question your version of events or your sense of self. people support abusers, and will support them even in the face of your suffering. this is, again, no reflection on you.
whether you want to view your experience as abuse is one thing - whether you want to publicly label it as such is another. but both are your own personal prerogative. if calling it abuse impedes your ability to find peace within yourself, then call it something else. i would, however, suggest that being unwilling to confront your experience as abuse can prevent you from being able to heal properly. i think that it’s important to be upfront and honest with yourself and your experiences. if doing this all at once is too hard and triggering, then don’t. but to repress it indefinitely might cause further damage down the line.
you will never get closure from your abuser, but you can give it to yourself. and recognising what you suffered at their hands for what it truly is, is a massively important step in doing so. take it at your own pace, and treat yourself gently - but you owe it to yourself to understand why you’re struggling.