We welcome everyone, to our special section – where we will continue to provide space for others to pay tribute to individual survivors of child, domestic or sexual abuse as well as to remember those souls who tragically did not survive we will also pay homage to the many people who so lovingly help to support survivors throughout their lives, often beginning whilst the abuse is still prevalent and maintaining that assistance through what can be an arduous battle – what we survivors refer to as the journey to heal.

Being loved by anyone in this world is a precious gift and should never be taken for granted. We wish that everyone the world over would pause each day to recognize the special people in their lives, for they are all treasures. If all of us treated each other as “treasure”, no one would be intentionally abused.

Nobody should be continually treated badly.  Wives, husbands, children, and friends are never possessions.  They are not insignificant, invisible, devoid of feeling or without needs. They are not sexual playthings or human garbage. This goes for all the people who play a role in our lives as well as those people we don’t even know. 

Unfortunately, this loving, respectful and grateful principle was not taught or learned by everyone.   Far too many children are beaten, sexually abused or neglected.  Too many spouses grasp onto the words “I love you” as a sign or a promise that everything will be okay.  He/she won’t do it again.  Too many children grow up in fear, shame, pain, self-doubt, and self-loathing. Too many adults have their confidence and self-esteem shaken by abusive mates.  Sometimes just living through these horrible conditions is the best that we can manage at the time.  When the situation finally does change, whether through our actions or not, we delicately begin to pull ourselves from the ashes into a world that we do not know how to navigate.  Almost everything, except hurt and abuse, is unrecognizable, even foreign to us.  We are the Survivors of abuse.  We want to be like normal people.  We just don’t know how to BE or what “normal” even is.

The fight to safety and health can be a difficult struggle.  Oftentimes it feels like we finally manage to take a few steps forward, only to have circumstances push us one or two backward.  It can be an exhausting and painful voyage where we must learn to challenge everything we were taught to believe.  I tried to explain it to someone once using a very simple analogy.  Imagine that you were raised from childhood, believing that red was green and vice versa.  Imagine, if you can, all the difficulty that would have caused for you, growing up in a world where everyone else saw things completely differently than you.  This analogy doesn’t even begin to show just how much adversity we survivors have faced and will continue to face. 

We have many reasons for choosing to begin this section not the least of which is to signify and convey our HOPE for safe, healthy futures for all survivors of abuse.  It is important to recognize that just surviving and breaking free of the abuse is oftentimes a daunting task.  We all have read, with tremendous sadness, the news reports of estranged husbands stalking their wives and continuing the horrific abuses after the initial break has been made.  It is no small feat nor is it something anyone should take lightly when a human being has escaped an abusive situation.  We applaud you, the strong courageous survivor. While we truly wish that some people didn’t subject others to horrific acts of abuse, we have only the greatest hope that each and every survivor will some day come to accept that they did not deserve to be treated so badly nor were they the “cause” of such atrocities. 

Too often, the abuses suffered at the hands of another, are physically too much to overcome.  Thousands of men, women and children have succumbed to injuries dealt out by someone in their own homes, husbands, boyfriends, mothers and fathers.  Let us not forget the others who have not survived their abuse.  It is tremendously important that we begin to speak loudly about the internally tortured souls who have either taken their own lives or have lived too short lives of extreme excess in attempts to numb the pain of the memories they were forced to carry by some long-ago abuser. 

There are angels among us.  They come to us in the form of loving best friends, supportive and understanding spouses, parents and siblings.  Yes, they even come to us in people who have made it their occupation to help others. Many doctors, therapists, social workers, shelter providers and volunteers go out of their way to connect with people who are in great pain and attempt to make whatever small differences they can make in those lives.  There are angels who stick with us survivors, through the many ups and downs always trying to be nearby to remind us how very important we are in this world.  Those angels out there deserve to be recognized for the fight they help us to put in and for all the times they suffer pain right along with us.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

The journey of healing involves examining, challenging and relearning every falsehood we were taught or led to believe about ourselves, and the world outside us. This is why we refer to it as a struggle or a battle.  The conflicts may be inside, but they are no less painful or difficult. Still, because we wish to be whole and to function more easily in a world we sometimes do not understand, it is a war worth fighting.  Where there is life, there is hope. We have already survived the abuse. We can succeed in our struggle for health.  It should not hurt to be a child.  You needn’t keep those secrets locked inside.  Reach out and allow yourself to speak.  Somebody will listen.  There is help out there for you! Yes, victory will be ours.  Our abusers will not win!

Take gentle care and stay safe.

You are invited, if you would like, to add your name or that of a loved one to our Gallery of Hope.  Please fill out the form below, indicating:

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