The Pixel Project is proud to present our fourth annual Survivor Stories Blog Interview Project in honour of Mother’s Day 2017. The annual campaign runs throughout the month of May 2017 and features an interview per day with a survivor of any form of violence against women (VAW) including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, stalking, online violence against women, female genital mutilation, forced/child marriage, sex trafficking, breast ironing etc. This campaign was created to provide:
- VAW survivors a platform to share their stories and solutions/ideas on how they rebuilt their lives and healed/are healing.
- Girls and women currently experiencing or who have survived VAW ideas, hope, and inspiration to escape the violence and know that there is light at the tunnel and there is help out there.
Our 16th Survivor Stories interview is with Tammy Enlow from the USA.
TRIGGER WARNING: The first Q&A in this interview may be distressing for some Domestic Violence survivors.
The Survivor Bio:
I am a 45-year-old mother of four. I was in an abusive marriage/relationship for right at twenty years. I have been away from my abuser for seven years now, and it’s been the hardest, best time in my life. I have and am happier than I’ve ever been. I have become a resident advocate at our local women’s shelter and have started my own project to help abuse survivors. It’s called The Freedom From Fear Project, and I help domestic violence survivors obtain registered service animals to help them on their journey. I have also returned to college to finish my psychology degree that was started many years ago.
My personal experience is that I am a survivor of an almost-20-year-long abusive marriage. My ex-husband abused me in every way possible over the course of that time frame, and I am very blessed to still be here.
He would knock me around almost daily and he attempted to kill me multiple times.
Like I say I am very blessed to still be here.
2. How did you escape the violent situation/relationship/ritual?
When it was time to separate from my abuser, I was terrified, but the years of abuse also had me to the point where I no longer cared what happened. I was just done. It got to the point where there was nothing more he could do to me, except kill me. I made him leave, I honestly didn’t care at that point, I could not live that way anymore and if it was to be the end of me, then so be it. I wouldn’t be miserable anymore.
In the beginning, I had to take all steps by myself as my family didn’t know fully what was going on. After a short period, my family and friends all stepped up to help, as much as they possibly could; though I was the one that had to do it for me. I trekked through and made it all work out.
3. How did you heal and rebuild your life after the violent situation/relationship/ritual? What actions did you take?
I spent a lot of time finding me, I did a lot of volunteer work to keep myself busy, I started back to school, I stayed by myself for quite a while, no dating or anything, I had to recreate me.
Initially I was a single mom with four children and one income, trying to make everything work out, and it did. I ended up in counselling for a short period, it was offered for free for domestic violence survivors, so I utilised it. It helped a lot and it helped me realise the steps I needed to take.
4. What would you suggest to or share with another woman or girl facing the same situation as you did?
Get out and don’t waste years of your life like I did. You’ll be okay and life will rebuild itself with time.
5. How do you think we can end violence against women?
Educate educate and educate, and end victim shaming, people don’t realise how much that plays into women not speaking up.
6. Why do you support The Pixel Project?
Anything to educate and help stop this epidemic is a wonderful thing which I full on support!