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16 Days of Activism: Abuse survivor shares her story of ’escaping captivity’

Candice Christians is the woman behind the ’You Are Phenomenal’ movement. Picture: Instagram

Candice Christians is the woman behind the ’You Are Phenomenal’ movement. Picture: Instagram

Published Nov 26, 2021


We’re currently living under circumstances that none of us would ever have imagined.

The type of situation you’ve only seen in the movies. A situation none us of were prepared for. One we’re still coming to terms with and navigating our way through on a daily basis. Tackling unforeseen problems as best we can.

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We’re all doing our best to protect our loved ones from a virus by staying indoors and living by the lockdown rules. This has left many people feeling trapped and imprisoned in their own homes.

While this feeling might be foreign to many of us but to those women who find themselves in abusive relationships, the feeling is their daily reality.

One could say that they are always living in lockdown. Whether it is physically or emotionally.

Right now thousands of women find themselves stuck indoors all day, every day, with their abusers. These women are more vulnerable than ever.

I was recently introduced to motivational speaker Candice Christians who started a movement called “You Are Phenomenal”. A platform where she inspires other women who are facing emotional and physical abuse and lack of self-esteem.

Motivational speaker Candice Christians. Picture supplied

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Christians is one of the many women who survived and managed to escape an abusive relationship. She found the courage to leave her relationship and stand on her own two feet and she has been working towards empowering other women to do the same for themselves.

Having escaped “captivity” Christians, like most of us, finds herself back in a different kind of lockdown.

I spoke to her about what advice she has for those women who find themselves trapped with their abusers.

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What’s the hardest part of being lockdown for you?

It has been extremely difficult for me. Often there are times I felt like a prisoner in my own home. Not being able to go out, buy what I want, go to gym, stay out as long and as late as I want and not being able to have any face to face human interaction. I has truly been the hardest part for me.

I am a people’s person and for me it is extremely weird and hard not to hug people when I see them or say goodbye to them. It is a scary thing to see how people have become fearful of their lives because of this virus. I think my daughter is taking the hardest. It definitely is not easy for any child to be confined to their homes during this time.

How have you been getting through days and what tips do you have for others?

I believe that knowledge is power so take this time out to read. More especially books that keep you motivated. I listen to motivational podcasts and watch motivational videos. These are positive ways to fill your soul in this time.

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Play board games with your loved ones. Plan your days with productive tasks ensuring that you get things done that make sure you tackle those things you didn't have the time to do because you were at work.

Take time to focus on your goals and look at ways on how you can get closer to them in this time that you are at home. Work on plans and strategies on how you will increase your income. One should never be dependent on one income. So create different streams of it. Look at the things you love and are good at and find ways to make money from it. Remember that nothing happens overnight and that the important thing is just to start.

What advice do you have for victims of abuse during lockdown?

As a woman who has come out of "isolation" with a man who abused her mentally, physically and emotionally. It is extremely sad and difficult for me to think of all the women who are currently suffering in it or have just come out of it.

I cannot begin to explain to you the feeling of constant sadness, fear and pain women have to live through during this time of isolation. It wasn't easy for me and I was the one who isolated myself from friends and family but just imagine being stuck in a house with an abuser not being able to go anywhere. That is torture.

All I can say to all the women out there who are suffering in isolation is to remain strong mentally. People can break you down physically and emotionally but if you don't allow the abuse to overpower your mind you will still be okay.

Find ways to keep your mind focused on the positive, keep a sound mind, pray and meditate on the word for protection, guidance and strength and read and listen to things that will give the motivation and the strength to eventually leave when the time comes.

To those who are out but are still suffering emotionally. Take your focus off the negative and focus on where you see yourself going in the next year or two. Devise plans and find ways on how you plan to get there.

Read and feed your soul, this is very important. If your mind is strong you can literally overcome anything.

Always remember that energy grows where energy goes. If you put more focus on the important things the negative things won't have a chance to grow.

Has this experience changed your outlook on life and how?

It has definitely humbled me. I have learned to appreciate life more and the joys and freedom life has to offer.  We often don't realise how much we have that we should be grateful for because at times we can be so ungrateful. I believe that this is just God's way of showing us that He is in control and that we must rely on him and not ourselves.

Helpline: Gender Based Violence command centre number: 0800 428 428 or *120*786#