FITNESS AS A SOLUTION FOR DEALING WITH POST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TRAUMA

Our previous post explained how Physical Activity and Sports play an important and major role in all these segments of women Empowerment by breaking Personal Limitations.

In “Women, sport and development”, an article that examines the numerous dilemmas faced in women’s involvement in sport, Martha Saaverda writes:“Sport as an embodied practice may liberate girls and women from constraining hegemonic feminine ideals, empower them within their communities, provide positive health and welfare outcomes, and ultimately transform gendered notion leading to a more egalitarian world and unleashing the productive, intellectual and social power of women. This then would contribute to overall development economic, social and political status of the world.”

It is also interesting to note that Fitness plays a major role in the lives of Victimized women as shown by the following Research carried out.

The National Women’s Health Information Center reports that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to American women and that nearly one-third of all women have been physically assaulted by their significant other at some point in their lives. These women often experience depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and grief (Campbell et al., 1995). Literature supports the use of physical activity in promoting psychological well-being.

The purpose of this study, then, was to evaluate the influence of physical activity on how survivors of domestic violence view themselves and their circumstances. The participants were seven women (18 to 54 years) who had been in abusive relationships, on average for eleven years, and who had recently left their partners. The participants were given access to an exercise facility and participated in one, two, three, or four interviews at one-month intervals. Interview questions covered abuse history, physical activity levels, self-view, emotional status, and how exercise may have influenced these factors.

Qualitative analysis of 11 participants’ responses revealed that exercise gave women the perception of healing, “getting out of trauma mode,” of working towards a future self, “moving towards the vision of the type of person that I want to be,” and freedom. Exercise improved their self-view by demonstrating to them that they were advancing beyond their abuse-controlled lives; that they were taking care of themselves. Women found exercise an effective means of “eliminating nervous energy” that resulted from being battered women, which in turn improved emotional status. Results are discussed in terms of the unique benefits derived from physical activity by these women, how exercise enhanced their recovery, and suggestions made by participants as to how the benefits of exercise could be fully realized.

Our Mission as African Soul Sisters is to improve the quality of Life of all women by acting as a catalyst to influence and advocate for an Empowered Global Network of Women.We created the program DaFIT MVT to support this cause by engaging all women around the globe in a Dance Fitness program.  Sport and physical activity programmes have been shown to have a broad range of positive impacts for girls and women. Apart from derived physical and mental well-being benefits enjoyed by physically active girls and women, a well-designed sport and physical activity sport can provide a platform to enable positive life changes. For example, involvement in sport and physical activity can contribute to increases in self-esteem and improvements in self-image. It can also provide opportunities for social networking, thereby promoting the social integration of girls and women within their communities.

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