A Christian Perspective of Domestic Violence
Most abused women who experience domestic violence, along with their children, are caught up in or have been in a codependent cycle of abuse that enables the abuser to continue in the abusive behavior patterns. These women usually make several attempts to leave the relationship before they are successfully freed from the strongholds of the codependent rhythms. The cycle of abuse usually builds up with stressful situations to the point of abuse occurring, then there is often the honeymoon stage, where the husband may apologize, bring gifts, etc. But then the cycle continues until the abuse recurs. One reason for this is that these women have unusually low self-esteems often stemming from earlier abuses such as child abuse, childhood sexual abuse, rape, or other traumatic events. Another reason is that the men in their lives exhibit such a powerful psychological influence on them due to various forms of abuse such as verbal, mental, physical, or sexual abuse.
Verbal abuse may include such tactics as name calling, threats of physical harm, etc. Mental abuse often includes intimidation tactics such as hitting or kicking the air or surfaces near the victim, and any threat of harm to the victim, or the victims’ loved ones, personal belongings, pets, etc. Physical abuse includes behaviors that often but not always leave marks and bruises, like spitting, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, burning, pressure holds, etc. Sexual abuse includes any sexual behavior that coerces or forces the victim (either the wife or a child) to do or be exposed to unwanted sexual conduct or materials used for sexual stimuli such as pornography, sex toys, or other objects used for sexual purposes. While pornography may be used to lower inhibitions of women to uncommon and deviant sex acts, abused women and children are often coerced or forced to perform deviant sex acts against their will by their partners and fathers. Loving relationships do not seek to selfishly control or manipulate, but is mutually agreeable and pleasurable to both partners. Child sexual abuse is never acceptable. Real loving relationships are selfless in nature, not selfish, and acts to please the other instead of demanding self-pleasure from the other.
It Rarely Stops Video
One more reason abused women choose to remain in abusive relationships is a strong religious background which seemingly discourages or prohibits divorce, even under intolerable circumstances. But women experiencing domestic violence must not be told by their clergy that they must “submit” to an abusive husband. Scripture teaches that a man should love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it. This was sacrificial love, which never forced anyone to accept it. Scripture also teaches us to submit to one another in love. At no time does Scripture teach a husband to exert power and control over a wife. An abused woman is not at fault for the abuse, she has not “failed to submit” properly, but the perpetrator is responsible for his own behavior. Instead of judging the victim unfairly, ministers and Christian counselors should seek avenues to protect and serve them.
Scripture does teach two situations where divorce can take place. In the cases of adultery and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse, a Christian woman may seek a divorce. Some Christian authorities include domestic violence as a form of abandonment, because when a husband abuses his wife, he is emotionally abandoning her. He has crossed the line from being the protector, to the aggressor, and has abandoned his responsibility to her and for her. Scripture also teaches that if a woman leaves her husband, she is to remain as unmarried until such time as they may be reconciled. But if professional help is not sought, and repentance never happens on the husband’s part, with the fruits of repentance (a change in behavior, not just words) not bringing forth proof, then reconciliation should never take place. A woman should never endanger herself, nor her children, if professional help is not sought by her husband, and proof of a change of behavior has not taken place. A woman may choose to separate while this process happens or she may choose to divorce. God doesn’t want us to suffer unnecessarily, as Christ has suffered for us already. God doesn’t allow unrepentant sinners into His presence, and as children of God, we should not allow unrepentant sinners into ours. If you or someone you love is in a domestic violence situation, you need to begin documenting incidents of abuse and preparing to separate from your spouse.
If you need counsel please email Christiancounselor@jesuslovesu2.every1.net or call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at (919) 929-7122.
30 Personal Safety Measures
- Never open a door to someone you don’t know well.
- Never tell or text anyone you don’t know well that your home alone.
- Don’t speak or write of your personal plans in public or over the internet.
- Keep your home well lit and locked.
- Don’t leave windows or curtains opened where someone can see you easily.
- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed around your home to keep someone from hiding behind or in them.
- Plant prickly shrubs underneath and close to windows so no one can hide behind them easily.
- Put new locks on a home you’ve just moved into.
- Don’t hide keys outside your house.
- Lock your doors when you’re working in the yard, attic, or bedrooms away from entrances. Someone could sneak in while you’re not watching.
- Don’t give personal info to people you don’t know well on the phone or the internet.
- Have a cell phone in the bedroom with you at night and in the car while driving.
- Have keys in your hand when leaving a building to go to your car. Searching for keys is an opportunity for attack. Your keys can also be used as a weapon if attacked.
- Look around and in your car before getting in.
- Keep your car keys separate from other important keys.
- Lock your car door right away when getting in to it.
- Look around before getting out of your car for anything unusual and leave if anything looks odd.
- If attacked in a parking lot, try to get under a car, where it would be hard for an attacker to get you.
- Don’t go below a quarter tank of gas, where you may have to stop in an unfamiliar place to refuel.
- Never pick up hitchhikers or others you don’t know well.
- Keep personal space. If someone gets too close for comfort, move away. If they get closer, run.
- Don’t use ATM’s that you have to get out of your car to use, especially at night.
- Be careful when leaving shopping malls or stores, when thieves are likely to attack.
- Don’t carry too many packages so that you can’t defend yourself if attacked. Always keep one hand free.
- Walk facing oncoming traffic so that you can’t be followed and pulled into a car.
- If asked for directions by a driver, stay far enough away from the car so that you can’t be pulled in and can run. You can always say, “I don’t know” and keep walking.
- When someone drops you off somewhere ask them to watch until you’re safely inside.
- If you’re on an elevator and someone threatening gets on, get off as quickly as possible by pushing several buttons to the next floors. Don’t push stop.
- Be very careful entering an area where the usual lighting is not working. Attackers often unscrew or break light bulbs.
- If someone in your family or someone you know tries to or hurts you in any way, whether physically or sexually, tell someone you trust to help you the first chance you get.
- Get out of the house and go to a trusted neighbor if possible
- Lock yourself in a room and call 911 if possible
- Keep a packed bag for self and children (if you have any) for an emergency escape
- Keep keys, important papers, and money with someone you trust for an emergency.
- If abuse is ongoing, do not go back without the perpetrator getting counseling from a reputable source. Get proof.
Take a free Self Defense quiz here.
- Fear Factor: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (gofishministries.wordpress.com)
- A Christian Perspective of Abuse in the Marital Relationship (gofishministries.wordpress.com)
- October Awareness of Domestic Violence Month (gofishministries.wordpress.com)
- Coming out of the Closet Victims of Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Non-traditionally Sexually Oriented (gofishministries.wordpress.com)