An abusive partner strips away your identity.
“In the beginning, you compromise a lot – you change who you are – to be somebody that he wants you to be. So, in the end you don’t have – you’re not yourself.”
[Gloria – age 41 with a 1 year old boy]
“You feel like you are wrong – for me I was thinking always that I was all wrong; I’m doing the wrong thing, when he says so.”
[Julien Rosa – age 24 with 3 and 7 year old boys]
In escaping the violence, women talk about rebuilding their sense of self.
“I’ve gone through quite a lot of transitions – it’s weird – maybe it’s just because you can be yourself. I always wanted to dye my hair – so – why not? – I can now; wear what you want, eat what you want.”
[Violet – age 35 with a 6 year old boy]
“[I had] a couple of pieces of clothing I didn’t wear because my mind is still trying to figure out – what do I wear? – after being so long in isolation… you tend to forget what your style was. So you make mistakes and buy things and then think – no, this ain’t me – so you put it aside.”
[Cathy – age 46 – no children]
And in a safe place, they feel they are becoming themselves again.
“I’m still who I am – I’m just able to be who I am. Because you kind of forget who that person is when you’re in a relationship like that. So – I don’t feel I’ve changed; I think I’m just becoming who I am again.”
[Helen – age 52 with 3 adult children]
“I can be myself – I am so happy! So much more happier than I was at home – the true me has actually come out – instead of hiding the person that I was – I’m the person I want to be.”
[Aliya – age 24 – no children]