Monthly Archives: September 2014


In Southeast Asia, wild elephants are trained to be docile while young.

When an immature elephant is first captured, it is securely tied or chained in place, so that its will may be broken. Unable to escape and denied food or water, the little elephant is repeatedly beaten while the trainer speaks in a calm voice to acclimate the elephant to commands. Afraid, in pain, hungry, and thirsty the young elephant is finally forced to submit.

Adult elephants would be strong enough to break free, but continue to believe in the power of the chains to hold them.

Could there be a more clear picture of child abuse?  We were repeatedly assaulted, at our most vulnerable.  It is no wonder the scars linger.

Now adults, we, too, have the power to break free from our chains.  The very knowledge is exhilarating.

But the extent to which release from our scars is possible will vary from one individual to the next.  For most, this will be a process. Setbacks should be expected.

There is no standard for suffering. Each victim is unique. Release from our scars is not a test of our worth, a calibrated measure of our recovery, or a competition with other victims.

Continued bondage is not another reason to berate ourselves.  Some scars may be intractable.  But there is reason to hope.

Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, ‘Arise quickly!’ And his chains fell off his hands” (Acts 12: 7).



Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Private Matters

The after effects of the Ray Rice situation continue to be felt. For those who do not follow sports, Rice was discharged by the Ravens after the video of his assault on now wife, Janay Palmer, became public.

To show their support for Rice, many female fans have made it a point to continue wearing Rice jerseys to the game. A group of NFL wives expressed their view that the assault was an isolated incident (highly unlikely) and a private matter, between Rice and Palmer.

Earlier this summer, Greg Hardy of the Panthers was convicted of beating his girlfriend and threatening her life. Ray McDonald of the 49ers has been charged with domestic violence for injuring his pregnant fiancée. After being discharged from two different teams for domestic abuse (slapping one girlfriend, and stalking another), Chris Rainey has been signed by the Cardinals.

Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson of the Vikings has been indicted on child abuse for using a switch to discipline his 4 y.o. son.

Are all these private matters?

Do fame and high salaries – or perhaps the revenue generated for the owners – make sports figures immune from the standards which apply to the rest of us? Should we simply turn away?

Or is there a point at which society should intervene to protect the weak?



Filed under Child Abuse, Justice, Law, Sports, Violence Against Women


“I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night…I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself not only to you all but the community, and I know he will gain your respect back in due time [1].”
– Janay Palmer Rice

This was the statement Janay Palmer made at the first press conference she and her then fiancé Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, held after Rice knocked her unconscious in an elevator at the Revel Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City.

The couple were married one day after a grand jury indicted Rice for 3rd degree aggravated assault.

The Ravens released Rice from his contract in response to the public outcry after video of this incident was circulated. Rice is seen delivering a left hook to the smaller and weaker Palmer while the two bickered, then dragging her body carelessly into the hall.

Much has been said about the penalties the team and NFL should have imposed from the outset. Formal standards have now been put in place, regarding domestic violence.

Two questions, however, remain. Why would a successful football player feel the need to coldcock the mother of his child, a woman he claims to love? And why would the victim of his assault feel she should apologize for it? Continue reading


Filed under Justice, Law, Sports, Violence Against Women


Sadly, the Bible has often been misused to support the subjugation of women. Such abuse is never justified, and is certainly not endorsed by the Bible. It reflects the patriarchal nature of our society (and the sins of individual men), rather than any directive from God.

For those who may wish to challenge this mistaken approach when confronted by it, here are a few observations from the Bible.

In His Image

God created both men and women in His image (Gen. 1: 27). Women are not pets or some lesser form of being, useful only for propagating the species without contributing anything to it.

That woman is described later in Genesis as having been created from the rib of Adam (Gen. 2: 21-22) reinforces, rather than undermines, this equality. Adam describes Eve as flesh of his flesh; marriage is said to require that a man leave his parents, to be joined to his wife as “one flesh” (Gen. 2: 23-24).

Hearts, Minds, and Souls

Both men and women have hearts, minds, and souls with which to love and serve God (Matt. 22: 37). Women have no less an obligation than men to do this. A just and holy God would not have made this command applicable to women, had they not been as capable as men of complying with it.

Equally Responsible

Though the nature of their punishment differed, God punished Adam and Eve to an equal extent for their sin in eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3: 16-19).

Whether the story of the Fall is interpreted literally or figuratively, it confirms God’s view of Adam and Eve as equally responsible for their infraction. And it offers an explanation, i.e. sin, for the distortion of the relationship between men and women [1].

Female Role Models

The Old and New Testaments contain a surprising number of female role models, including women in leadership positions and women active in the early church.

Esther was a Jewish queen who saved her people from destruction (Book of Esther). Deborah served as a judge, successfully working with her general, Barak, to defeat the enemies of Israel (Judg. 4: 4-8). Both Jael (Judg. 4: 21) and Judith (Judith 13: 7-8) took it upon themselves to kill enemy commanders. Continue reading

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Filed under Christianity, Justice, Religion, Violence Against Women