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  • Writer's pictureErika Sardinha

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse

When I was a young child, I endured tremendous abuse. But the one thing I found the hardest to process was being sexually violated by a close family member.

I remember storming out of the house with my tiny feet, having only one mission in mind: To go to the human I trusted more on this earth, and tell her about it, so she could help me.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the help I needed at the time, and I had to stay in the same house as my abuser.

For me, that's when the cycle of abuse started.

When something like this happens, you immediately feel isolated and hopeless. Then, the abuser will take advantage of it and make the moves to ensure that these feelings never leave your body. Unfortunately, it is hard to get rid of it, and sadly, some victims never do. To our despair, we tend to feel alone in this world, with no hope for a better future.

I was already in my late twenties when I realized that I was not alone. What changed for me?

I had the privilege to watch some brave women openly talking about abuse on television and later sat down with friends that also spoke about it. It was shocking to me. Even though I felt sorry for them, it was also a relief. I finally learned and recognized that I wasn't the only one or one of the few that lived in a horror movie.

Fast forward to almost a decade, and I still listen to stories every day, more women coming out, and the stats? Horrendous.

I'm starting to believe that being abused is somehow the norm, but we walk around pretending that it's not.

I see it every day, and unfortunately, the Universe allowed me to observe the cycle of abuse from very close, but this time from the outside. I know how it goes, and I witness it with a sunk heart: Someone courageously shares what happened to them, whoever hears it does nothing about it, and the abuser is walking around dating women with young children. This story, like many, will most probably never make the stats.

So I wonder, is it 'more normal' to have suffered from abuse of some sort than not? And if it is that normal, why don't we do something about it, as individuals and as a society?

I found from experience and observations that silence is the common denominator here. We need to talk about this, we must address it, and we certainly need to stop blaming, shushing, and shutting the victims down when they finally access the strength they don't have to tell us about what happened to them.

I believe it is up to us, to you and me. We need to continue spreading awareness on this topic and take the tabu out of it. The more we speak of it, the more we condemn abusive behavior, the more victims will feel seen, and there is a slight change we finally get to make the abusers accountable.

Are you with me?

If you are a victim of abuse, know that you are not alone, and please do not give up on telling your story and make yourself be heard. Unfortunately, sometimes the help and support we need do not come from where we think it's supposed to.

If you know of a victim of abuse, simply stop and listen. If you don't know what to say, tell them that. "I am sorry, I don't know what to say." and sit with them. If you feel drawn to it, reassure them, show them they are not alone and tell them it's not their fault. Because it's not. Ask them what they need and be a 'safe space.' More often than not, that is all we need.

It is up to us to break the cycle of abuse by talking about it and challenging the usual response. From now on, we listen, speak, and act upon it.

Thank you for being a part of this movement.

Love and light,


Survivors Coach 💖


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