October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we’re breaking the silence.
Did you know?
- 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner?
- Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.
A child witnessed violence in 22% (nearly 1 in 4) of intimate partner violence cases filed in state courts
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Excuses.
That’s the title first-time mama, Brittany C. wrote as she recounted what got her through domestic abuse. It takes courage for a survivor of domestic violence to share their story with anyone.
I hope that by sharing Brittany’s story she can touch at least one life and make a change. Let’s end the silence on domestic abuse.
I do not write about my personal life and become so transparent to others for pity. I don’t want pity because I have my validation, peace, and comfort through God. I write because in the bible it says, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4
1 in 3 women have been victims of domestic abuse within their lifetime. I share to help others know they are not alone. To let them know they don’t deserve this and to comfort them like the Lord has comforted me.
If you have never been in an abusive relationship it’s easy as an outsider to say, “Just leave.” or “How dumb are you to stay?!” The thing is a lot of women do not even realize they are in an abusive relationship. It’s excuses that we are told and believe. “Well if you wouldn’t have made me so mad,” “If you would have done this instead,” or my favorite, “I was drunk and I don’t remember, I am so sorry.”
The important part to remember is if someone is “so sorry” but it keeps happening or they keep drinking KNOWING they become violent while intoxicated then they really aren’t sorry and they know what they are doing. You also believe them when they say, “ I really want to change, let’s go to church, I will do anything you want me to do.” It will be good for a while, until it’s not again. Maybe we feel bad because they were raised in a bad environment and had a horrible childhood and you want them to see what it’s like to be loved. The problem is they have to love their selves and love God in order to love you.
A very important thing you have to learn is, you can’t fix people. Only God can change people and believe me, He wants too! However, they can only change if they accept God’s love and let God live in their life. As women we are naturally nurturers and want to help. We see someone broken and look at what their potential could be and try to fix them.
This is dangerous because when we are in a relationship with someone we want to change it ends up bringing us down more than we bring them up. They literally take every ounce of you because you give every ounce of yourself to them. It is not supposed to be like that. We should be so grounded in God and so comfortable in our faith that when we meet a partner we should both help each other and give equal parts of our self to each other with one common goal of living for the Lord and glorifying Him.
1. You are worthy.
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
Jesus literally died for us to have redemption and be saved from the sins we commit. Just really ponder that. Someone died for you. You are WORTHY. We have the ability to walk in a new life if we choose to. It is up to us.
2. Claim that you will be happy and joyful (Do not allow yourself to get into a “slump.”)
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
“That ye be NOT sluggish, but imitators of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:12
3. You deserve to live God’s will which is better than the plan you have.
Stop trying to be in control of this person’s destiny. Acknowledge it is in God’s hand and not yours. God does not want you spending your whole life trying to fix someone else. He wants you to enjoy the life He has designed specifically for you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
4. You can get through this.
It’s hard because you loved them with everything and feel betrayed and out of control. It is ok. You want to go back and believe that this time it TRULY will be different. You can’t allow yourself to keep taking these risks for them and putting yourself in dangerous situations.
Pray they will change one day for themselves so they can know the grace of God, but focus on allowing yourself to be the woman God wants you to be. When you meditate God’s word and talk to God daily, things WILL fall in place. Don’t allow yourself to automatically go searching for another man to replace the hurt. Embrace the hurt and learn from this trial. Get to know yourself. You have been so busy serving other you deserve to know who you are!
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake. Yea though I walk through the shadow of death , I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.: Psalms 23:3–4
End the Silence on Domestic Violence
This issue cannot be ignored. To create change, we have to talk openly and acknowledge how domestic violence affects our communities, our families and our lives
Never underestimate your power to affect the course of a survivor’s healing journey. End the silence on domestic violence.
If You Know Someone Who is in a Domestic Violence Situation:
- Don’t blame or judge the victim. Don’t re-traumatize the victim with your response to their situation. (If your first response is to judge the victim, they may not trust you enough to keep you informed of the situation. This could lead to them feeling isolated and unwilling to reach out to you or others in times of emergency.)
- If you truly want to help your friend or family member, you have to demonstrate that you care. The best way to do this is to listen.
- Offer your support. Do you have a place they can stay if they need to? Money they can use if their abuser has made them financially dependent? Are there other ways you can support them?
- Trust the survivor to come to the right decision. A victim of domestic violence may attempt to leave their situation many times before they finally succeed. They may go back and forth to their abuser. They will only finally leave for good when they are ready. Be prepared for this, and offer your support no matter what.
- Suggest domestic violence support groups, hotline numbers and other resources for your friend or family member. This will take the strain off the victim, who may be too scared or too isolated to do the research themselves.
- Do not confront the abuser. This can place both you and the victim in danger.
- Always dial 911 in an emergency.
If You Are in a Domestic Violence Situation:
- Don’t alert your abuser if you are planning to leave.
- Create a safety plan. Is there a way you can put aside some money, clothing, documents and other necessities in case you need to leave? Can you find a place to stay in case of emergency and alert a few trusted friends and family members? Even if you are unsure as to how the situation might escalate, it is important to be prepared for your safety.
- Join a support group for survivors of domestic violence: even if you are not prepared to leave the relationship, you can discuss your situation with other survivors and receive group therapy with trained counselors.
- Get one-on-one help: many domestic violence centers offer free one-on-one counseling. A domestic violence counselor can help discuss your situation, offer therapy and connect you to resources in your area.
- Call the hotline if you need help. Take precautions while calling. If your abuser checks your phone logs, try calling from a pay phone or a friend’s phone. Don’t call while your abuser is within hearing.
- Always dial 911 in an emergency.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, encourage them to reach out for help. You can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline by visiting http://www.thehotline.org/ or by calling 1-800-799-7233.