Jennifer Tucker: Safety of a Woman

Safety of a Woman

Written by Jennifer Tucker October 10, 2017

“All my life I have felt that I had to adapt and mold my identity to fit other people’s preferences, to keep myself safe. All I am doing is trying to keep myself safe. As a woman, I feel very unsafe in this world. I feel like there are so many threats to my safety that I spend a great deal of time and energy fighting them or deflecting them. I’m scared. Every day of my life I’m scared. I am debilitated by fear. Why? Because everywhere I look, I see this expectation of perfection, and it makes me feel incapable of getting and keeping a job, and therefore incapable of keeping myself safe.” ~Anonymous

This is the voice of a child abuse and domestic abuse survivor.

Many people take for granted being able to walk through their homes freely and access items in their kitchens without the constant threat of being violently attacked- a steep price to pay for being hungry or thirsty. And many people take for granted having a safe place to sleep at night where they are not awakened by the various violations of abuse. Those that have that safety and freedom to take for granted, can’t possibly understand the lives of those who don’t. Fortunately for them, they don’t have to. What I find very disturbing is the fact that many of us that do have to understand those fears (from direct experience) are at the mercy of the opinions and decisions of those who don’t. It is a blind spot in our culture that prevents victims from breaking free from the patterns of revictimization. I feel very strongly that the vulnerability of abuse survivors is extremely underestimated by those who have not lived through the daily torments of abuse. Many people cannot recall a time that they felt truly unsafe, let aside re-living that same experience over, and over again, turning their daily lives into a living nightmare that no matter how hard they try, they cannot wake up from. In addition to the daily torments of abuse, the exhausting battles of Complex-PTSD are vast, and those that stand on the outside from it are fortunate- they don’t have to understand. Taking your own safety for granted is a bad enough crime. Taking someone else’s safety for granted is far worse. If you hold a position of authority at your company, you hold that person’s safety in the palm of your hand. I desperately urge you to consider that in your decision-making. I plead with you, on behalf of every abuse survivor, with all my might, to carefully consider what she may not have to take for granted. Your decision could be the biggest threat to her safety. It could be a death sentence, literally.

Many people do not know the tremendous strength and effort it takes to leave an abusive relationship and start their lives over. Many survivors have had to do so multiple times, each time feeling more and more depleted. I compare it to a broken vase that has been glued back together – easier to break and more difficult to put back together (and keep together) each time.

“We are grown up little girls who are waking up in the middle of the night, screaming and gasping for air- only our nightmares are real. There is no one there to hold us, to comfort us, to reassure us that we are safe. We have no choice but to be strong, as the provision of secure employment is the only access to safety (the same safety you take for granted) that we have. Many of us have lived in environments no person should ever have to live in, and we have had to do things no person should have to do, just to not live on the street, and those things are the lesser of the two evils” ~Anonymous 

Many survivors have been BETRAYED by justice, rather than served by it. Many survivors have had traumatizing hardship inflicted on them by decision-makers who took their contributions for granted, did not value them as people, and completely dismissed and jeopardized their safety. Many survivors live in crippling, torturous fear that they are one person’s negative opinion away from experiencing it all over again. Imagine your little girl waking up in the middle of the night crying for you, because she is scared. You open the door, and you hold that precious little girl tight until her fear goes away. Why? Because it is the right thing to do…because she is worth the reassurance that she needs and cries out for. Even if it costs you time, sleep, or even irritates you; it’s what you do because in that moment, YOU understand the value of safety.

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