October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a fact that recently compelled Abigail Breslin to share her own experience as a survivor of an abusive relationship.
Abigail Breslin shared her experience with domestic violence
In an Instagram post, Breslin shared a trigger warning to alert people who may be affected by discussions about domestic violence and sexual assault. Then, the actress did something incredibly brave: She shared her own story.
“I was in a very abusive relationship for close to two years,” writes the 26-year-old. “It all started out perfectly, I was so in love. Unfortunately, my abuser took advantage of my innocence and naïveté, and the relationship subsequently became violent.”
Breslin was “beaten on a regular basis, locked into rooms and forced to pretend everything was okay and normal while dealing with intense injuries…injuries most people didn’t even see,” she continues. The actress began relying on concealer to cover up her bruises, and felt “ugly and hated” due to the abuse, according to her post. “I was certain, there must be something inherently WRONG with ME.”
Now, Breslin is on a path to healing. She credits her friends and family for helping her leave her abuser and voices support for others who are in abusive relationships. “If you are in an abusive relationship currently, you CAN get out,” she writes. “I know it seems impossible and terrifying, but you have survived so much and you CAN survive leaving if you have the right tools and support.”
Breslin also advises that anyone who is dealing with domestic violence — or knows someone else who is being abused — reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which is available 24 hours a day.
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Nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner per minute in the United States, according to the NCADV. One in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking, reports the organisation. This can lead to issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder — something Breslin has experienced in the aftermath of her own abusive relationship, she shares in her recent Instagram post.
These statistics are staggering — and they indicate the importance of increased awareness, improved access to resources, and a greater cultural understanding of what domestic violence can look like. Domestic Violence Awareness Month has only been around since 1987, and there is still a long way to go in providing resources for survivors of domestic violence and preventing abuse in the first place.
For now, stories like Breslin’s go a long way in facilitating essential conversations about this issue and empowering others to access resources that can help them. And if Breslin’s story is any indication, healing after domestic violence is possible — though it may take time.
“I now am in a wonderful, healthy, happy and amazing relationship with my fiancé,” writes Breslin. “My C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) is much better than it was in the first two to three years after my abusive relationship, but I still have moments. I still occasionally have nightmares, and certain things still do trigger me. I am still healing,” she continues. “The aftermath of abuse is a complicated and individual experience. I hope sharing more about my story at least helps some people feel a little bit less alone.”
It seems Breslin’s honesty is already sparking positive conversations. In the days since sharing her story, Breslin’s post has been flooded with likes and comments from people adding their support and thanking her for opening up about her experience.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline or go to their official website.
This story first appeared on www.shape.com
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