Lara H

If you had told me that I would become a victim of domestic violence, I would never have believed you.

I even had an opinion about it; if you are abused, or belittled, you will leave right away! But apparently it's not that simple. I now know from experience

Mijn ervaring met relaties en liefde waren altijd positief. Ik voelde me veilig bij mannen. Ik zag het partnergeweld in deze relatie totaal niet aankomen. De ‘red flags’ die er achteraf gezien vanaf dag één waren negeerde ik totaal. Ik was verblind door verliefdheid.

As a result, I lost everything. My business, my savings and income, my physical and mental health, but the worst; my confidence in people and my self-esteem. It has taken years to recover from this and to really understand what has happened now and especially how I make sure this never happens to me again. And now I also understand my part in the story. Due to an insecure childhood I developed autonomy problems. As a result, I always put aside my own feelings, I couldn't set my boundaries properly and stand up for myself. I was extremely loyal, a real people pleaser. And I am someone who does not give up easily. A nice quality that got me into trouble this time around.

Door alle gebeurtenissen was ik zwaar getraumatiseerd. Iedere ochtend werd ik wakker met hartkloppingen en de stress gierde door mijn lijf. Ik had vreselijke nachtmerries en leefde elke dag in doodsangst, omdat het geweld ook na de breuk niet stopte en in allerlei vormen doorging.

I reported it to the police. I had to build up a record in retrospect. You are traumatized, you are still in the middle of the violence and at the same time you have to collect evidence. An almost impossible task. By reading back and listening I relived everything and developed a post-traumatic stress disorder.

During the declaration I knew; a solution must be found for all victims in the future. I then made up my mind that when this misery was over I would help others who find themselves in a similar situation.

After I had recovered somewhat, I started studying digital research and cyber security and developed a tool to help victims of domestic and online violence in an accessible way with collecting digital evidence.

Ik heb toen de kracht van hoop mogen ervaren. Daarvoor zag ik alleen nog maar wat ik allemaal was kwijtgeraakt, was ik depressief, leefde continu in angst en kon ik niet meer goed functioneren. Op het moment dat ik weer hoop kreeg nam mijn denkkracht ook weer toe waardoor ik kon studeren en alles op zijn plek viel. Het hebben van een doel en missie – het helpen van andere slachtoffers – gaf mij weer zelfvertrouwen en droeg enorm bij aan mijn herstel.

Being able to help others has contributed so incredibly to my recovery. Something beautiful has emerged from a terrible situation, by turning my situation into something positive. I have finally found my purpose and it has not been in vain and I am grateful for that every day.

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