“Triumph Over Abuse” Author and Director of Center for Youth, Family and Community Partnerships

Dr. Christine Murray holds free event on January 15 with prize giveaways


Greensboro, N.C.  – UNC Greensboro (UNCG) Director of the Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships Dr. Christine Murray knows about domestic violence. She recently published a book Triumph Over Abuse, sharing her personal experiences, and offers guidance for survivors as they navigate the complicated and often lengthy journey of recovering from past abuse.

Friday, Jan. 15, a free, online virtual book launch event for Triumph Over Abuse is being held via Zoom. Advance registration is required: https://triumphoverabuselaunch.eventbrite.com. The event will feature Murray and other speakers, as well as drawings for book and other prize giveaways.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to heightened risks for domestic violence victims and survivors. Social distancing and quarantine requirements may lead victims to be trapped in their homes with their abusers. Victims may be hesitant to reach out for help to local domestic violence agencies for fear of entering settings like shelters where they may risk exposure to the virus. After survivors have left an abusive relationship, their ability to find meaningful employment may be hindered by widespread unemployment rates.

Early in the pandemic, the National Domestic Violence Hotline reported that they experienced a nearly 10% increase in contacts between March and May 2020, as compared to the same timeframe the prior year. Across the United States, domestic violence victim service agencies have had to adapt their service delivery models to meet the unique needs of victims during the pandemic, while also protecting their own health and safety. 

Even with these increased risks for the safety and wellbeing of those who have faced abusive relationships, hope and healing are possible.

In Triumph Over Abuse: Healing, Recovery, and Purpose after an Abusive Relationship(Routledge, December 2020), Murray weaves her experience as a researcher and mental health professional with her personal experiences of having been in a past abusive relationship to map out strategies that address many of the common challenges that survivors face in the aftermath of an abusive relationship.

Murray said, “When I started writing Triumph Over Abuse, I had no idea the pandemic was looming and would make leaving and recovering from an abusive relationship so much more complex. I hope that the timing of the book’s release, while we’re still deep in the middle of this pandemic, will offer support to survivors from all walks of life, whether they faced abuse a long time ago or are currently recovering during these difficult COVID-impacted times.”

Murray offers the following suggestions for those impacted by abuse as the pandemic continues:

·        If you or a loved one is impacted by domestic violence, do not hesitate to reach out to local resources for support. Many domestic violence agencies are offering different ways of accessing help, such as through virtual appointments or chat-based help lines, and they remain eager to offer support to victims and survivors.

·        Find ways to stay connected with a support network, even if you cannot see people in person. Isolation is both a risk factor for domestic violence and an abuse tactic that abusers use to maintain control over their partners. Try to use creative approaches to staying connected so you can get the support you need if you are personally facing abuse or so you can check in on your loved one if you are concerned about their safety.

·        Be mindful of technology-related risks. Technology-facilitated abuse, such as when abusers use spyware to track their partner’s Internet activity or use GPS to monitor their whereabouts, has become more common in recent years. As more activities have moved to the online, virtual environment during the pandemic, it’s critical to understand online safety risks. A helpful resource is the Safety Net Project from the National Network to End Domestic Violence: https://www.techsafety.org/.

·        Remain hopeful and intentional during the healing process. Healing from an abusive relationship is challenging even in normal times, and even more in the midst of a global pandemic. By taking intentional steps to process survivors’ emotions and experiences, build coping resources and social support, survivors can build healthy, meaningful lives and relationships even after experiencing the trauma of abuse.

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