Lara H

Ik heb toen de kracht van hoop mogen ervaren.

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

My experience with relationships and love was always positive, I felt always safe in my relationships. I did not see the red flags at the beginning of this relationship at all. I ignored them. I was blinded by love.

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.

I was deeply traumatized by everything that had happened. I woke up every morning with a heart rate of 220, I had severe nightmares and every day I lived in agony because even after the breakup, the violence did not stop and continued online in all kinds of forms.

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.

I was then able to experience the power of hope. Because before that I only saw what I had lost. I was depressed, still living in fear, I had lost hope and the PTSD made it impossible for me to function properly. The moment I regained hope, my brainpower began to increase again, allowing me to study and everything fell into place. Having a goal and mission - to help other victims - gave me confidence and contributed immensely to my recovery.

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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