How a book and friends got me out of abuse
Written by ‘just another sister’
Last August, when I was just getting out of an abusive relationship, I picked up ‘Shame’ by Jaswinder Sanghera. With incredible strength, she tells the story about escaping a forced marriage, experiencing domestic abuse and her subsequent activism against both. Though I don’t know much about her activism, it is her story and strength that captured my heart.
I burst into tears when I read how Jaswinder was supported by other women who noticed when she was struggling, and offered some love and help. I don’t know why this scene in particular made me cry so much, rather than the more horrific scenes, such as her sister being pushed to suicide by domestic violence, or the intense pain she felt being cut off by parents for rejecting a forced marriage.
I think what made me cry was that I could relate. My friends too noticed when I was feeling distressed at the darkest parts of my relationship. They too showed love and care and made it possible for me to tear myself away from a complex and psychologically challenging domestic violence trap. I think it helped me to see that there is a powerful network of sisterhood: a healing force.
I’ve come to realise that many cultures and communities reinforce violence rather than challenging it, and despite this, how strong and driven women can be to stick together and break out of it.
There is one other book that stands out for me. In the midst of my abusive relationship, when I was feeling very stressed and lost, I asked a good friend for a book recommendation. She recommended ‘Anam Cara’. Anam Cara is about ancient Irish spirituality, and its very purpose is to provide comfort and direction. It holds timeless truths and is written with love and wisdom. It planted seeds which I believe led to me being able to break up with my partner, and be okay, half a year later. It helped me to see how much power we human beings hold within ourselves and how our real soulmates are our friends.
These books were my companion when things were dark, and now it has led me to help women who are still trapped. This is why I joined Chayn. I want to be come the lifeline of hope, the way the book and my friends were for me.
Books hold the power to move us. Are there any books that have helped you out of a difficult period?