The human creature is extraordinarily fascinating, filled with enormous potential, beautiful complexity and with the amazing ability to repair, heal and grow! I have been privileged to be part of many personal wellbeing transformation journeys and it never fails: every single story is unique. There is so much to learn from the struggles, the pain, the successes, the joys and challenges we all go through in this lifetime.
I unapologetically believe that no matter what our story looks like, we all have the incredible opportunity to live our life to the fullest potential!
In fact, two of my key guiding life principles are:
- While we may not be able to choose all the circumstances in our lives or what happens to us, we always have a choice how to react and respond to what is happening.
- You cannot change the past. You can only change the present and the future using the lessons you have learned from your past.
I was 10. Confronted with a new situation, words, action and behavior I did not understand. It felt like my heart was getting ripped out. I felt confused and scared. I knew it was wrong. Everything changed that day. I had no control over what was happening, but I was not going to just stand by and watch as this battle unfolded over many years. I chose to become a fighter that day and take my life into my own hands. I am not 100% sure, but it is possible that this is when my leadership training really began (…it was really bootcamp that I had not signed up for).
Little did I know that this was only the first of many battles to come. I did not ask for them, and I did not look for them. I did not invite them. For 27 years, I fought abuse and with the help of my God’s power, strength, wisdom and intervention, I was a successful warrior and I overcame. I survived emotional, psychological, verbal, sexual, spiritual, physical and financial abuse in different stages of life and in different situations.
Abuse is sick and twisted.
Abuse is sick. It is twisted. It is complex. It feels like prison. It is painful torture. It is a game of power and control. It is a pattern. It is push and pull. Abuse escalates and intensifies over time, particularly in domestic situations. It alters the reality of the victim against their will. It changes the victim. It traps the victim. Abuse is usually covert. Abusers don’t just make a mistake. They don’t just have a bad day or an anger problem. The issues and roots of abuse are much more complex and despite the heavily increased awareness through #metoo and #timesupnow and other movements (this is a good place to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all individuals working desperately to make a difference, to make changes and to fight this massive epidemic!), many people still do not know much about what abuse actually is, how it happens, why people abuse others, how to deal with abusive situations, how to help abuse victims and how to confront abusers.
Abuse does not define me.
While the emotional scars will stay with me forever, the abuse I experienced over many years does not define me. The scars remind me daily of the deep wounds and trauma I suffered. They also remind me of how strong I am, how much I have overcome and how blessed I am that despite all of it, I am able to live my life to the fullest potential and am thriving in many ways. And I know this is possible for others as well.
Through my personal story, my professional experiences and training, I knew that I have a responsibility to do what I can to contribute to positive change. My dream, that formed early on in my own healing journey, is now becoming a reality and on March 7 – 10, 2019, the new ‘Rise Up Against Abuse’ initiative is launching on the campus of Andrews University.
‘Rise Up Against Abuse’ is an initiative focused on taking action against all forms of abuse through awareness, education, intervention and prevention. It aims to provide resources and challenge individuals, organizations and institutions to implement effective sustainable changes practically and through policy. We will also provide creative and practical opportunities for victims and survivors to be heard, loved and supported.
To all suffering or having survived abuse: DO NOT GIVE UP. KEEP FIGHTING. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. THERE IS HOPE. YOU ARE WORTHY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE TO YOUR FULLEST POTENTIAL!
My name is Dominique and I am a survivor, warrior and thriver of life! And I believe, you can be too.
With love to all,
Dominique Gummelt, PhD, CPT, CWP
This blog post was written by Dominique Gummelt, a GW4W member.
Dominique is an energetic, innovative and creative international speaker, certified personal trainer (ACE), wellness practitioner (NWI), lecturer, author, filmmaker, hobby photographer and musician. As a survivor of abuse, a defier of the odds and a thriver of life, she loves to help other people live better, happier, healthier and more meaningful lives to their fullest potential – no matter the circumstances. She is the creator and co-founder of ‘Rise Up Against Abuse’.