I often witness the tears of my people as they tell of their domestic abuse experience. It is so sad and overwhelming. Therefore, I asked Chris Crowe to be a guest blogger for me this week to discuss it. Read this and you will be better equipped to face it with a friend or in your own home.
He didn’t mean it . . .
But he really loves me . . .
It was just this one time . . .
It was my fault . . .
These are words often said by those victimized by violence. They have been manipulated and brainwashed into believing they are worthless, no good, less than. But the truth is they are a child of God, they are infinitely valuable, which means they are worth more to God than any precious metal or jewel man can think of. They are worth so much that God would send His ONLY Son to die JUST FOR THEM, even if they were the only person on earth. So what exactly is domestic violence? And what can we do about it?
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is a violent confrontation between family or household members involving physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm. Family or household members include spouses / former spouses, those in (or formerly in) a dating relationship, adults related by blood or marriage, and those who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship.
The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors, including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, and isolation to coerce and to control the other person. The violence may not happen often but may remain a hidden and constant terrorizing factor. Domestic violence is not only physical and sexual violence but also psychological. Psychological violence means intense and repetitive degradation, creating isolation, and controlling the actions or behaviors of the spouse through intimidation or manipulation to the detriment of the individual.
Domestic violence destroys the home. No one deserves to be abused. The responsibility for the violence belongs to the abuser. It is not the victim’s fault!
Symptoms of Abuse – Misuse of Power And Control
Abuse in a relationship is any act used to gain power and control over another person. Women who are abused physically are often isolated. Their partners tend to control their lives to a great extent as well as verbally degrade them.
Listed below are some of the warning signs of domestic abuse. Look to see if there are multiple warning signs that are occurring in your life.
USING PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE
Hair pulling, biting, shaking, pushing, pinching, choking, kicking, confinement, slapping, hitting, punching, using weapons, forced intercourse, unwanted sexual touching in public or in private and depriving her of food or sleep.
USING EMOTIONAL ABUSE
Insulting her in public or in private
Putting down her friends and family
Making her feel bad about herself
Calling her names
Making her think she’s crazy
Playing mind games
Making her feel guilty
Using Male Privilege; acting like “Master of the Castle”
Treating her like a servant
Making all the big decisions
Being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.
USING ECONOMIC ABUSE
Preventing her from getting or keeping a job
Making her ask for money
Giving her an allowance
Taking her money
Not letting her know about or have access to family income
Not allowing her a voice in important financial decisions
Demanding exclusive control over household finances.
USING COERCION AND THREATS
Making or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her
Threatening to leave her, or to commit suicide
Threatening to report her to welfare
Making her drop charges
Making her do illegal things.
Making her afraid by using looks, gestures, or actions
Throwing or smashing things, destroying property
Making her feel guilty about the children
Using the children to relay messages
Using visitation to harass her
Threatening to take the children away.
Controlling what she does, who she sees, what she reads, & where she goes
Limiting her outside involvement
Refusing to let her learn to drive, go to school, or get a job
Not allowing her to freely use the car or the telephone.
USING JEALOUSY AND BLAME TO JUSTIFY ACTIONS
Minimizing, Denying, Blaming
Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously
Checking up on where she’s been or who she’s talked to
Accusing her of infidelity
Saying the abuse didn’t happen
Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
Saying she caused it.
Why Get Help?
The danger is real.
If you are controlling or have a controlling partner, don’t ignore these behaviors. They are not the result of stress, anger, drugs or alcohol. They are learned behaviors that one person uses to dominate, intimidate and manipulate. They are destructive and dangerous.
If the abuse continues without outside help, the abusing partner may risk being arrested, going to jail, or losing the relationship.
Domestic violence hurts all family members. When a person is abusive he or she eventually loses the trust and respect of his or her partner. Abused partners are afraid to communicate their feelings and needs.
Everyone has the right to feel safe in a relationship. With help, people who are abusive can learn to be non-violent.
Learn the Warning Signs
Disagreements develop from time to time in relationships. Domestic violence is not a disagreement. It is a whole pattern of behaviors used by one partner to establish and maintain power and control over the other. These behaviors can become more frequent and intense over time.
The abusive person is responsible for these behaviors. That person is the only one who can change them. Don’t wait until you and the ones you love get hurt. You Are Not Alone. Consider getting some help. Talk with friends about your situation.
24 HOUR CRISIS CONFIDENTIAL HOTLINE:
National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7
800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TTY)
Christina Crowe has been serving as the Women’s Counselor at Church at the Cross for the past three years. Always having had a heart for women, she began counseling fifteen years prior in crisis pregnancy centers. From there she served as an on-call counselor with Student Leadership University and Redeemer Church. She has also been a guest lecturer on Counseling Women for Dr. Williams at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. She received her M.A. In Counseling from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Christina and her husband Brent have been a part of Church at the Cross for three years and have three children, Gabriel, Charis and Mercy.