Monthly Archives: April 2018

Abused Men

You are a man in your 40s.  Your wife regularly beats and berates you.  She once deliberately drove over your foot. You give her everything you can manage to earn (and anything else friends and relatives will let you borrow).  But she spends all the money on herself or gambles it away.  She has falsely accused you of abuse.  You now have a police record as a result.  Yet you cannot break free.  

Some 830,000 men were victims of domestic violence last year [1A].  Many men do not recognize that they are victims.  Many more are ashamed to acknowledge the fact.

We are all familiar with the image of the “macho” male.  Society defines men as strong and dominant.  But men of all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and all occupations may be subject to abuse.  Nor is abuse confined to heterosexual relationships.

Mary Todd Lincoln was known to have fits of rage.  She once chased Abraham Lincoln around the yard with a knife.

Humphrey Bogart’s alcoholic third wife, Mayo Methot, pulled a gun on him at a dinner party.  She stabbed him during another fight – an altercation Warner Bros. attempted to keep from the public.  But the Bogarts’ tumultuous relationship was no secret.  The press referred to the couple as the “Battling Bogarts” and their home as “Sluggy Hollow”.

Forms of Abuse

“Women were significantly more likely to throw an object, slap, kick/bite/hit with fist and hit with an object.”

-Philip Cook, “Abused Men:  The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence”

Domestic violence against men can take a variety forms [2A]:

Verbal Abuse – This can range from private criticism to insults and humiliation in the presence of friends and colleagues.

Threats – These may express the intent to prevent children from seeing their father, if the abuse is reported; to harm children (or pets); or to “out” a gay or transgender individual.

False Accusations – Unsubstantiated accusations of infidelity or abuse may be made to an employer or police.

Physical Assault – This may involve hitting, punching, thrown objects, attacks while asleep, or use of a vehicle to cause injury.

Damage to Credit Rating and Finances – This can take the form of heedless spending, or deliberate default on major financial responsibilities such as a mortgage. Continue reading

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Filed under domestic abuse, domestic violence, Law

Raising Sons

Portrait by Joshua Reynolds of Elizabeth Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, with her son (c. 1765), Source https://hoocher.com (PD-Art, Age-100)

Raising children is an enormously challenging endeavor, under the best of circumstances.  Human beings are complicated creatures.  Abuse adds dark forces to the mix.  It shapes us as children and impacts the parents we become.

Modeling Behavior

Parents attempt to model the behavior they want their children to adopt; strive to give their children the things they, themselves, never had.

If we are to raise sons who do not abuse the women in their lives, we must – first and foremost – protect them against exposure to abusive men [1].  By this I mean not only men who might molest them, but men who treat us (and them) badly.

Consciously and unconsciously, boys take their cues from the men in the lives.  This is only natural.  It is not to say, however, that we as their mothers have no influence.  We have tremendous influence, not only through what we say but what we do.

Children are observant.  They watch us closely.  They see how we react under pressure, see the choices we make in our own lives.  And they seek to imitate us.

Teaching Abuse

The example we set is important.  When we submit to abuse, we teach our sons – however inadvertently – that abuse is acceptable.  When we tolerate abuse by men in the public eye, we teach our sons that women are not worthy of respect.

Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches…who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp…who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!” (Amos 6: 4-6).

The politicians involved in tawdry sex scandals; the men in power who harass and assault women as a matter of course; the athletes who treat women as playthings; the men who commit date rape, who view quaaludes and rohypnol as expedient means to an end; the college students who consider themselves entitled to sex with blindly intoxicated coeds; the men who cheat regularly on their wives (not to mention those who batter the women in their lives to death) were all once boys.

All sons. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, bullying, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Politics, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 6 – Restoring the Relationship with God

Open Bible, Author “The Photographer” (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

The abuse experience can warp the lens through which victims see themselves and the world.  It skews even their view of God, since He – perhaps more so than the predator – is blamed for the abuse.

Abuse victims must be permitted to vent the full range of emotions elicited by the violation, if their faith in God and relationship with Him are to be restored.

God’s continuing love for abuse victims is more powerful than any symptoms or shame.  This does not necessarily mean that the scars of abuse will be erased.  Victims are likely to need frequent reminders, both of God’s love and His mercy.

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103: 10-12).

” ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’ “  (Isaiah 1: 18).

” ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more’ ”  (Isaiah 43: 25).

Victims might ask themselves whether they would judge another exploited child by the same harsh standards they have applied to themselves; whether the thoughts and behaviors they now characterize as defective on their part would have occurred at all, if they had not been abused.

Originally posed 8/18/13

Of note, the Sex Trafficking Act was this week signed into law.  The “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017” (often referred to as FOSTA) creates a new federal offense which prohibits owning or operating a website or other technology platform with the intent to facilitate prostitution.  Penalties can run as high as 25 years in prison. 

Sex trafficking victims may, in addition, bring civil suits against the websites that hosted ads that enabled their trafficking.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  https://alawyersprayers.com

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

In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 5 – Forgiveness

“The Confession” by Giuseppe Molteni (1838), Gallerie di Piazza Scala, Photographer Artgate Fondazione Cariplo (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

From a human perspective, it is inconceivable that abuse victims would consider forgiving so grievous a violation as abuse.  Only with God’s intervention can abuse victims hope to forgive the perpetrator, and successfully move on with their lives.

Forgiveness begins with a decision to put the violation in the past. It may be necessary to re-address forgiveness as life events bring other areas of unforgiveness to the survivor’s awareness.  This does not mean that the victim should be placed again in harm’s way.

Forgiveness cannot be forced (and does not preclude criminal prosecution). But without it, victims run the risk of being consumed by bitterness. God wants more for them than that.

Originally posted 8/11/13

Of note, Federal authorities have successfully taken down Backpage.com, a classified advertising website repeatedly accused of enabling prostitution and sex trafficking of minors.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  https://alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 4 – Scriptural Consolation

“Agnus Dei (The Lamb of God)” by Francisco de Zurbaran (c. 1638), San Diego Museum of Art, Photographer Daderot (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

While abuse victims have not sinned, it can be helpful for them to recall that God encourages even sinners. He sent His Son to save, not condemn us.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned…” (John 3: 17-18).

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8: 1).

It is the adversary who condemns the saints, his goal being to paralyze them.  It is his voice that victims hear when the darkness presses in on them, not God’s.  But the adversary is a liar.  Lies are his stock in trade.  Abuse victims are the more vulnerable, since early in life they did not receive the nurturing that God intended.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…’ ” (Revelation 12: 10-11).

Originally posted 7/21/13

Wishing You All a Happy Easter!

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  https://alawyersprayers.com

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