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June 2016- articles

I am Here
by Kate Berlin

When I got asked to write a piece for CASA’s newsletter I jumped at the opportunity… “Of course… I would love to!” Until I actually sat down to write it and realized I didn’t really know where to start. Do I tell people about my work? Do I tell them about my personal experience with abuse, do I make this merely an article that’s statistical? 

There’s a yoga teacher named Seane Corne, that says, “In order to find your work, you need to  look for your wound.” My wounds were many, and deep, but fundamentally they all stemmed from this place of not belonging. Never feeling good enough, or worthy. I have always been the last kid in line that never got the cake. And it’s from this wound that my abusive relationships manifested. 

I remember it clearly… we were teenagers and in love. I asked him, “What made you fall in love with me?” and he answered, “your sadness.” You hear this often, abusers prey on the weak. They look for the ones that are easily manipulated and what’s easier prey than someone with a deep sense of not being worthy? Someone with little footing to stand on securely?

I can go into details… I can tell you about the time he choked me, the time he tied me up and put me in the closet, about all the names he called me. But what I feel would be better suited to tell you is that I am here. Present, and in the moment, with a heart full of love. I have forgiven my abusers (yes plural, because there were more than one) and I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned through meeting them. If it wasn’t for these specific type of heartbreaks I would not have had such significant breakthroughs. 

In order to go against violence, we must first be a conduit for love and to me the ultimate language of love is forgiveness. 

I am here, right now, and today I use the story of my survival as a catalyst to move forward and thrive. I am not a victim. I am not merely surviving. I am thriving. This also isn’t a case of easier said than done. I have been there, by myself, picking up the pieces. I am still doing the work it takes to keep moving forward.

This isn’t just my message… this isn’t just my journey. The statistic is 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men, but I believe that across the board the statistic should be 1 in 1, because when one of us suffers, we are all held responsible. We are ALL in this together. 

My story of being a victim has always been just the beginning, my story of survival has been brutal, with anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD and nights where I wasn’t sure whether or not I would make it through to the next morning. My story of being a thriver? That’s when finally found my footing. That’s me returning home. I am no longer that child in the back of the line afraid to ask that someone saves me a piece… I am claiming my own so that I can share with others. 

 

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Kate Berlin is founder and executive director of Purple Dot Yoga Project, whose mission is to raise awareness for domestic violence and relationship abuse and to support and empower survivors using yoga practice and philosophy.

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