S T O P: 4 letters for Survivors of Abuse

If you are a survivor of abuse, here is a STOP tool to keep in mind. 

The journey of S T O P

Be it physical, emotional or sexual abuse, it needs to STOP. 

Studies have shown that people often blame themselves for the abuse they suffer. And, this, in turn, makes it difficult for them to form healthy relationships. 

This pattern needs to stop right now. 

STOP is a mnemonic device you can keep in mind when it comes to the topic of Abuse.  

Consider using this mnemonic device to help you find a grounding to address this difficult topic.

S refers to Strengthen

T is to Test  

O is to Organise 

And, with P, you would Persist

Imagine a well, S stands right at the bottom of the well.  T and O are steps that lead to P.

And, P is when you completely climb out of the well.

With each step, the person keeps coming out slowly; going up and about.  

Now, let's get right into this journey of STOP.  


First thing first, we salute you for your strength to withstand abuse. 

It is not easy to be a survivor of abuse. And, often, we blame ourselves for it. 

According to studies, women tend to internalize the experience of childhood abuse more often than men. This is why they may have higher incidences of depression and anxiety that can be linked to the previously experienced childhood abuse. 

So, step one's mantra is to
Replace Shame with Strength

At this stage, we would gain the strength to address the problem. Remember, this is the strength you already have.



Recognise where you stand

Now, we need to see where the problem stands? Is the abuse still prevailing? Does the abuse affect other people around you? 

Like children and significant others?

It is often seen that the perpetrator doesn't just harm one person, but the perpetrator may have a tendency to abuse others as well.

So, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where am I standing?
  • Is the abuse current, or is it over?
  • Am I still being subjected to online or other forms of abuse? 
  • Are my children safe?


Organise yourself. 

Organise your body and yourself to fight against the recently identified problem. 

This is where you'd team up with mental health professionals who are trained to provide you with a supportive, a healthy environment.

 If your children are also at risk, mentally prepare to get them and yourself out of the abusive environment.

But, remember, you would not be alone in this process. You would have a team of people who would support you to get organised. 

We are all standing in this together, as a team. 

And the last step


Research suggests that the experience of abuse continues to influence family relationships, in mid-life and even later in life. 

It may take more than a few pushes to fight off the abuse. 

This is where you are requested to allow yourself to keep getting help, and the extra push you need to persist.

Often times, this may involve changing your job, changing your location or being financially dependent. 

But, remember, the team you met earlier? We would help you persist.

In persistence, we gain resilience; we would find what brings 'you' joy?

The idea of persistence is for you to come out of the well and not fall backwards.

Who knows? 

You may completely rediscover yourself!

And, sometimes, you may also choose to lend your hand downwards, in the well.. so that other survivors can be pulled upward.

This is how we all will persist in our journey of S-T-O-P.  


Savla, J. T., Roberto, K. A., Jaramillo-Sierra, A. L., Gambrel, L. E., Karimi, H., & Butner, L. M. (2013). Childhood abuse affects emotional closeness with family in mid-and later life. Child abuse & neglect37(6), 388-399.

Thompson, M. P., Kingree, J. B., & Desai, S. (2004). Gender differences in long-term health consequences of physical abuse of children: data from a nationally representative survey. American journal of public health94(4), 599-604.

Thompson, M. P., Arias, I., Basile, K. C., & Desai, S. (2002). The association between childhood physical and sexual victimization and health problems in adulthood in a nationally representative sample of women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence17(10), 1115-1129.

Sachs-Ericsson, N., Cromer, K., Hernandez, A., & Kendall-Tackett, K. (2009). A review of childhood abuse, health, and pain-related problems: the role of psychiatric disorders and current life stress. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation10(2), 170-188.

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  1. A very positive and uplifting article, This Tool of STOP is actually which allows us to go further.thank you for this beautiful write up .well researched.