Next on the DOSE podcast, we welcome Devika Wood; female activist and co-founder of the domestic abuse support network I Am Arla. Within this episode we talk about exercise as a tool for female empowerment, the importance of sharing your struggles with others and her inspirational journey creating a platform to unite, support and educate women who have experienced abuse or trauma…
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Female Activist Devika Wood On The Importance Of Sharing Your Story
‘I don’t ever want anyone to go through what I went through. I don’t want women to ever feel like they are silenced and allow their trauma to impact their future and prevent them from getting to where they should be getting. Every time I hear a story come through the platform and someone says that reading my story or reading someone else’s was so empowering that it made them leave an abusive relationship, you just think that sharing your story with that one person led them to ending the abuse that same day. That’s something really impactful and that just keeps you going on a daily basis’.
Leaving A Toxic Relationship
‘You have to go through various stages. When you leave the person in an abusive relationship it’s like healing from a drug addiction – you’ve been used to this high adrenaline toxicity that you no longer understand what’s normal. It’s such a struggle trying to figure out what is normal, as you don’t fit into that normal after a toxic relationship. You’ve got your own insecurities, demons and issues inside of you that you’re trying to deal with. When eventually you put yourself out there and you try to engage in dating again, 90% of the experience is absolutely horrendous. Thankfully you do get that 10% where you start to see glimmers of hope and you start to engage with nice people. You catch yourself thinking, that’s not the usual type of person I’d go for and you start to notice red flags more easily. When you finally meet the one and to be honest as a trauma survivor when you meet the one and you meet the person that gives you that safety, love, a best friend and companionship that you’ve never had before, it’s almost like seeing for the first time. It’s like you’ve been blind and you suddenly can see colour and light around you. There’s nothing more beautiful. It makes you appreciate and value relationships more than you ever thought you could’.
Female Activist Devika Wood On Exercise As A Tool For Empowering Women
‘One of the girls who was a rape survivor left medicine to become a PT because exercise allowed her to find this connection with her body. She said that she managed to feel this power in her body that she always under estimated. When she got raped she was disgusted by it and she blamed her body for what she went through. Now through exercising and she is able to see what her body is capable of and she connects with it in such a way that she feels so empowered’.
‘We had so many women contacting us with their stories and just seeing the amount of women that were coming forward feeling empowered to share something so traumatic which normally they would have probably gone through their whole life without sharing was something I can never really forget. Every time a new story is shared I’m so overwhelmed by it. Reading other people’s stories really puts things into perspective. You think my God, there are some incredible heroes walking on this street every day that are overcoming such obstacles and facing such terror and trauma on the daily. Every time they write their story I tell them imagine how much impact you’re going to have on somebody else. They always feel so empowered and so important that they’ve been given that chance to share and make someone else feel valued. I think that’s the whole ethos of what we are trying to achieve’.
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