October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States. Domestic and intimate partner violence are pervasive issues affecting many individuals worldwide, often whom are expected to suffer in silence. In the United States specifically, around 20 people per minute are subjected to physical abuse by an intimate partner. Domestic violence can also include sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse as well as other forms.
In the Tedx Talk, “Not Another Victim-I’m An Empowered Survivor Defendant”, Marissa Alexander shares her life story, including her experience of intimate partner violence. Alexander tells how she initially attempted to convince herself that the abuse she was enduring was not “that bad”. She describes the shame, judgement, and terror she felt throughout the relationship as she had to manage both concern for her safety and societal perceptions of her victimhood.
Alexander highlights how survivors of violence are often criminalized for defending themselves, expressing how she too became a survivor defendant. She stresses that many individuals who are subjected to abuse often have to choose between risking loss of life from enduring violent conditions or loss of freedom if persecuted for retaliating against their perpetrator. Alexander concludes by sharing how she has regained her power by sharing her personal truth and educating others on domestic violence.
Feature Image: Nadine Shaabana, on Unsplash, Creative Commons