Earlier today I was talking with a victim services advocate who works in New York City and does amazing work to help women recovering from abusive relationships. She mentioned a book that she often recommends to survivors of domestic violence. It's a workbook titled "Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence" by Edward S. Kubany, Mari A. McCaig and Janet R. Laconsay, and is for women who have left the relationship or marriage and are ready to heal and move on. Apparently, it's not as helpful for women who are still in an abusive relationship.
Here's an editorial review as provided on Amazon.com: "Second only to survivors of war and victims of rape, women who are severely assaulted by their husbands or partners are the group of trauma victims most likely to suffer from the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Researchers estimate that as many as 80 percent of these women will manifest signs of the disorder in the months and years following an assault. Until now there has been no book specifically written to help these women deal with PTSD. This sensitive and compassionate book, at last, offers them hope."
That's a pretty powerful and eye-opening statement, regarding domestic violence survivors as being "second only to survivors of war and victims of rape." And, yes, I totally believe that, having been there myself. I've never in my life experienced anything more degrading or painful as the violent, verbal assaults that beat me down during the ten long months of my abusive marriage. In addition to the abuse, the fact that he cheated on me during all that time was simply further proof that I had married a truly disgusting and hurtful person with apparently no morals or conscience whatsoever.
The book was published in 2004, and I'm not sure what has come out on the topic of domestic violence survivors and PTSD since then, so I don't know if there might be anything better or more relevant out there. I plan to check it out myself to see if it would hold any relevance to my situation. I still deal with my own recovery practically daily. Although time heals, it's not enough. Recovery takes work as well as patience.
I've written quite a bit on a couple of national web sites about my recent nightmare, and thanks to the feedback from many of the very compassionate women on the sites, I've realized that I'm not alone in this. I think it's incredibly important to share resources like the book mentioned above so we can all help each other. Sadly, domestic violence touches the lives of far too many women - 1 in 4 reportedly - and I imagine there are even more women and children than we can even fathom simply due to the stigma and shame that are attached to domestic abuse. I still have a hard time admitting that I actually married an abuser.
I'm speaking out so that hopefully it will be easier for more women to speak out as well, and seek help.