Did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month?
One in three or four females will be a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault at sometime in her life. I see some of these women at GateWay and I hate what abuse has done to them. Domestic violence knows no racial, economic or religious boundaries. It is in our community as well as our churches.
Domestic violence is a term you hear, but exactly what does it mean? Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that exercises power and control over an intimate partner. This abusive behavior comes in various forms – physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, economic and spiritual.
The cycle of abuse begins with tension building, is followed by the abuse which then leads to the “honeymoon” phase. This cycle repeats itself over and over. Physical wounds such as black eyes, broken bones and bruises are easily seen. Emotional wounds of betrayal, powerlessness and humiliation are often hidden.
Two years ago, I met for several months with a group of seven Christian women who had come out of domestic violence. I asked them to teach me. This month I want them to speak to you. Below is a sampling of what they said to me. You’ll hear more from them in future posts.
Advice to women considering leaving domestic violence – “Leaving is a process, not a one time event… You’ll know when it’s time to leave.”
Advice to those whom the abused woman first turns to for help – “LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN, and believe her.”
Motivation for leaving the abuser – “My children.”
Obstacles to leaving the abuser – “My children.” (No, that’s not a typo. Children are both a motivation and an obstacle in leaving abusive relationships.)
This month would you pray for women who are being abused? For more information, please visit these two websites: