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Why Survivors Should Set Goals for the Future

Escaping violence needs to be looked at long-term

  • October 15, 2014
  • By domesticshelters.org
Why Survivors Should Set Goals for the Future

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence every year. Survivors who escape these situations face many challenges when starting over, which is why setting goals for the future is an important step in the healing process.

Juanito Vargas is the associate vice president of Safe Horizon, a New York domestic violence nonprofit and the largest victims’ services agency in the U.S. He says goal-setting with survivors who come to his agency is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Whenever we have a client that comes to us, we ask what brought them here and where do they want to wind up. And then we work with them to realize those goals.” Vargas says advocates try to improve a survivor’s sense of self-efficacy—encouraging the belief in individuals that they can complete their goals—because, “in the end, they’re the ones that are going to be doing it. We have clients that come to us that are self-blaming, so if we target that, that can do a lot of good.”

Setting goals for the future can help survivors begin to move past the abuse and find closure. Some questions survivors can ask themselves when figuring out what their future goals are:

  • What do you need to do to stay safe? You might want to set a goal to find a new place to live, be it in a new home or a new city. This can also help you feel a better sense of getting a fresh start.
  • What do you need to do to not return to the abusive situation? First off, you should cut off all contact with your abuser. Then, perhaps set a goal to continue with counseling or a support group so you can stay strong and feel supported as you venture out onto your own.
  • Do you have a support system? You could set a goal to reconnect with old friends or make new friends. Just be careful that if you’re concealing your location, you don’t reconnect with someone who will tell your abuser where you are.
  • How can you build back your self-confidence? This could be through finding a new job that makes you feel empowered; tackling a physical challenge, such as running a 5K or joining a recreational sports team, that makes you feel strong; or reading and repeating positive affirmations.