With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is in the air. We may associate this day with love, affection, chocolates and flowers but it is not the same for everyone. Valentine’s Day can be a trigger for survivors of abuse and violence.
In the past, brands have tried to align themselves to market this day as an inclusive day. Unfortunately, no matter how inclusive we try to be, this day is dedicated to couples. For the survivors of abuse, it can mark as a day that reminds them of abuse and trauma that they have faced or are facing in their relationships.
Intimate partner violence is very common in India. According to the National Family Health Survey- 4, 1 in 3 women faces domestic violence. While some seek assistance and can break free from their abusers, the physical, psychological and emotional trauma can remain for the rest of their lives. A day like 14th of February or Valentine’s Day can push survivors into feeling more alone and depressed than they do any other day of the year.
Surviving abuse or violence may not imply being free from the trauma
Abusive relationships tend to leave a mark. Survivors can suffer from psychological, physical, or emotional distress. Many become susceptible to addictions to drugs or alcohol or develop psychological issues like PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). Days like Valentine’s day can be painful since abusers tend to abuse under the garb of love. Gifts like flowers and chocolates which are the staple of V-Day are also presented as an apology after the abuse. These small triggers can create uncomfortable situations for survivors.
Getting through V-Day
The road to recovery for a survivor is slow and a gradual process. It is essential to acknowledge the situation and to understand that you have the power to define yourself and not let any event or day define who you are.