A Tool to Support Black Women Survivors of Domestic Violence
By Shavonne J. Moore-Lobban, PhD, ABPP
Domestic violence is a public health crisis that impacts millions of people in the United States, every year (Smith et al., 2018). Although most commonly associated with physical violence, domestic violence can also include sexual assault, financial abuse, emotional abuse, and stalking within the context of dating-, married-, coupled-, or otherwise, partnered-relationships. The effects of domestic violence is long lasting and can impact survivors mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially.
Like many forms of trauma, violence, and oppression, domestic violence disproportionately impacts people of marginalized backgrounds. In fact, it is estimated that 4 in 10 Black women experience domestic violence, and at higher rates than women of other ethnicities, such as their White, Hispanic, and Asian counterparts (DuMonthier et al., 2017).
All too often, there is silence around domestic violence that makes it difficult for survivors to receive help. Such silence can fuel feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and self-doubt. It can make survivors feel alone in what can already be an intentionally isolating experience. For those also battling internal and external societal messages of the Strong Black Woman, speaking up about an abusive relationship can seem like an unbearable task. Asking for help can seem unimaginable. Yet, these women deserve help and support. They deserve to hear and understand that the abuse they endured (or continue to endure) is not their fault, and their vulnerability is not weakness. Family, friends, and even mental health professionals may desire to provide this support but may lack the tools and resources to do so.
The Black Woman’s Guide to Overcoming Domestic Violence: Tools to move beyond trauma, reclaim freedom, & create the life you deserve (Moore-Lobban & Gobin, 2022), is a book written for survivors, from a place of compassion, respect, and belief in their ability to heal. Filled with information and practical tools for self-reflection and discovery, this book is an empowering guide to help survivors move toward radical healing and liberation. The Black Woman’s Guide to Overcoming Domestic Violence focuses on the experience of Black Woman, including the unique factors that impact them. Because it is imperative that supportive others know how to show up for survivors, this book ends with a chapter written to survivors’ friends, family, non-abusive partner, mental health professional, and clergy, and is filled with information to equip them to support survivors on their healing journey.
To any survivor reading this, may I leave you with a parting word – “We [Moore-Lobban & Gobin] truly believe joy, peace, health, and love are your birthrights. May you never forget how powerful and worthy you are (Moore-Lobban & Gobin, 2022, pg. 165).”
DuMonthier, Childres, & Milli (2017). The Status of Black Women in the United States. Institute for Women’s Policy Research. https://iwpr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/The-Status-of-Black-Women-6.26.17.pdf
Moore-Lobban, S.J. & Gobin, R.L. (2022). The Black woman’s guide to overcoming domestic violence: Tools to move beyond trauma, reclaim freedom, and create the life you deserve. Oakland, California: New Harbinger Publications
Smith, S.G., Zhang, X., Basile, K.C., Merrick, M.T., Wang, J., Kresnow, M., Chen, J. (2018). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2015 Data Brief – Updated Release. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/2015data-brief508.pdf