Category Archives: domestic violence

Turkish Inequality

Anti-femicide memorial in Chile, Author En.el.cielo.con.diamantes, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamelia/2055714461/ (CC BY-SA 2. 0 Generic)

Women in Turkey have rallied in large numbers due to concerns that country may withdraw from the Istanbul Convention [1].  The Convention deals with systemic violence against women, and the state’s role in preventing domestic abuse.

Citing the erosion of family values and traditional gender roles, a small but determined group has lobbied Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to withdraw the country.  What seems behind the effort is an anti-Western sentiment, and the desire to revoke gender-based protections.

Turkey has a long history of femicides, the killing of women and girls by men because of their gender [2A].  Even with the Istanbul Convention in place, 417 Turkish women died as the result of domestic violence last year.  Thus far this year, 205 have been killed.

The murder of 27 y.o. Pinar Gultekin by her former boyfriend ignited the Turkish women’s protests [2B].  Anti-femicide protests have, also, taken place in France, South Africa, Mexico, and Chile in recent years.

Meanwhile, Poland, Serbia, and Croatia are considering abandoning the Convention. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Justice, Law, Rape, Religion, Violence Against Women

God’s Relationship to Abuse – Fate and Justice, Part 2

Gentian blossoms, André Karwath a/k/a Aka (CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic)

We continue our examination of God’s relationship to fate, justice, and abuse.

Justice

God created human beings in His image.  That is the reason we have a sense of justice at all.  Our sense of justice cannot be greater than God’s, since it derives from His.

Yet, because ours is a fallen world, we do not always see justice done.  The innocent suffer, as abuse victims can attest.  That is deeply disturbing to us…and it should be.  The question is whether we can trust a God who allows innocent suffering.

The answer to that rests with the character of God.  God is love personified.  He is holy beyond all measure, entirely incapable of evil.  And God is all powerful.  He is not, therefore, overcome by evil.

If we trust in Him, God is capable of sustaining us, despite our suffering.  God’s justice, however, plays out on a grand scale, against the backdrop of eternity.  We may not see justice done in our lifetime.  The Jeffrey Epsteins of this world may triumph for awhile.  But, in the long run, they do not escape justice (Gal. 6: 7).

Knowing these things about God, we can fully place our trust in Him.

Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

God’s Relationship to Abuse – Fate and Justice, Part 1

We abuse victims often rage at God for our circumstances.  Given the pain we endured, that is only natural.  Is it, however, appropriate?  Is God responsible for fate and justice, by inference, for innocent suffering?

Blind Fate

“The Three Fates” by Alexander Rothaug (c. 1910), Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH (PD)

The Fates are a common feature in polytheism.  They are often depicted as a group of mythological goddesses weaving the destiny of mortals on a loom.  The ancient Greeks called them the Moirai.  The Norse called them the Norns.  They controlled the thread of life for every mortal from birth to death.

A belief in fate or blind chance can give rise to resignation, a stoic submission to events which largely removes free will from the equation.  This is a way of coping with the gross injustice of abuse.  It eases the pain, but reinforces a hopeless victim mentality.

What such a belief does not do is place responsibility where it truly belongs, i.e. on the predator.  That can be appealing, since we need not confront the excruciating truth that we were not loved as we deserved. Continue reading

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

Domestic Violence in Japan

Neon signs in Kabukicho, a “red light” district in Shinjuko, Tokyo, Author Basile Morin (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Domestic violence is not solely a Western phenomenon.  As of June 2017, there were 72,455 cases reported in Japan [1A].  That set a new record.  However, only 2.2% of the victims of spousal abuse there actually contact police.

A Private Matter

Japanese law does allow courts to issue restraining orders [2].  However, domestic violence is largely viewed as a private matter.

In one survey, 58.2% of the 650 victims injured did not feel their problem warranted police help [1B].  Another 34.3% did not seek police intervention because they believed themselves partly at fault, while 22.3% felt police intervention would be pointless.  Many did not recognize that they had been victimized. Continue reading

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Vulnerability, Part 2

As we mature into adulthood, we gain not only physical and emotional strength, but power over our lives.  This opens up new opportunities, and options never available to us before.

Distinguishing between the feeling of vulnerability and actual vulnerability becomes crucial.

“…Do I need to better protect myself from a danger in the environment?  Or do I need to muster the courage to face something that isn’t going to kill me and that can help me grow stronger and more confident?  Often we can conflate the two…Once we determine what our vulnerable feelings are about, we can thus make a decision to protect ourselves from real danger, or face an opportunity for personal growth by facing real feelings, emotions and needs…”

-“Stephen” of Therapy Glasgow, https://therapyglasgow.com/2020/04/26/the-vulnerable-self/

Barricades

In an effort to protect ourselves, we may be tempted to erect emotional barriers, barricades against further abuse.  This is only natural.  To the extent that we re-establish safe boundaries, it is all to the good.

But we must remember that barricades can become traps for those inside.  Inadvertently, we may cut ourselves off from the opportunities now accessible to us, and the very relationships which might help us to heal. Continue reading

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Vulnerability, Part 1

Enchanted Rose

Enchanted Rose from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” (Disney Wiki/Creative Commons), courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

In the Disney version of the fairytale “Beauty and the Beast”, an enchanted rose is shielded against the elements by a glass dome.  Though sheltered and hidden away, the rose remains fragile and continues to lose its petals.  In so doing, it presents a perfect picture of vulnerability.

The victims of child abuse are all too familiar with vulnerability.  We were preyed upon at our most vulnerable – at a time when we should have been protected and nurtured.

It is only reasonable that we retain a sense of fragility, along with the recollection of our very real abuse.  This is an echo of the intense fear we experienced as children.

Feeling Vulnerable v. Being Vulnerable

But there is a difference between feeling vulnerable, and being vulnerable.  To save our own lives, we must learn to distinguish between the two.

“…I might feel vulnerable whilst speaking of things I have kept hidden for a long time, whilst there is no actual threat to my existence.  By revealing myself I reveal truths that I may not yet have fully accepted in myself.  I may in fact be safe, but the experience of exposure feels like I am in danger….

By contrast, I might actually be vulnerable standing out on the ledge of a forty-storey building, where the merest breeze might shift my balance sufficiently to result in a terrifying death a few seconds later.”

-“Stephen” of Therapy Glasgow, https://therapyglasgow.com/2020/04/26/the-vulnerable-self/

Life was not meant to be lived under glass.

This series will conclude next week.

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

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

Domestic Abuse in a Time of Corona

Indications are that the coronavirus pandemic is increasing domestic violence [1A].

Arrests for domestic violence rose by 27% in Portland,OR in March. Domestic assault and battery reports rose by 21% in Seattle, WA and 22% in Boston, MA during the same period.  The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline has experienced its highest call volume in 20 years.

“Domestic violence is rooted in power and control, and all of us are feeling a loss of power and control right now.”

-Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of National Domestic Violence Hotline [1B]

With stay-at-home orders in place across the country, the isolation victims typically endure has only been heightened.  Fear of infection, job and financial losses exacerbate the stress on victims and abusers alike.  The fact that gun sales have  spiked is not helping the situation [2]. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Community, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

“Easter Peace Meal” by Joseph Veneroso

“Head of Mary Magdalene” by Alexander Ivanov (1834), Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia (PD-Art, PD-Old)

“Mary Magdalene mourns alone.
‘Woman, why are you weeping?’
the…Gardener asks.
‘Sir, if you have taken him,
tell me where he is.’
Lightning illumines her darkened soul
when she hears her name
spoken with such tenderness:
‘Mary’…

We are Emmaus bound,
downcast and discouraged,
without hope or happiness
till a Stranger opens our minds,
sets our hearts on fire,
sits with us at table,
and breaking bread,
bestows on us
and all the world
amazing grace.”

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse https://avoicereclaimed.com

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Those Who Care

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to ravage the globe, the world applauds the efforts of healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic.  Those who care – whether the context is war, crime, natural disaster, illness, or abuse – rarely receive the credit they are due.

But they make a world of difference for the rest of us.

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

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women

Beautiful in His Sight

“Figure of Christ” by Heinrich Hofmann (1884), Source https://i.pinimg.com/originals (PD-Art, PD-old)

Abuse frequently destroys the faith of victims, undermining our capacity to trust.  While we may reject God or despise Him, He loves and values us.  It can be difficult for us to reconcile God’s love with our experience.  But that love is real.

Let me try and explain what I mean.

Self-Worth and the Cross

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16).

As abuse victims, we were taught at an early age that we were worthless.  Our needs were insignificant.  Our feelings did not matter.  Our bodies were not our own.

These were the inferences we drew from our experience with those who rightly should have loved and cared for us.  God, however, sees things differently.  To Him, we are of infinite value.  He proved it by giving His Son, Jesus Christ over to a death on the cross for our sakes.

Our value is not governed by a predator’s opinion of us.  It was established for all time at the cross.  No one need add to it.  No one can detract from it.

God’s Unconditional Love

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies” (Ps. 36: 5).

God’s love for abuse victims is limitless and unconditional.  The concept of unconditional love may be foreign to us.  We were taught that love was unreliable.  It had to be earned, over and over again.  Most of us paid a high price for a counterfeit version of love.

Sin and Our Relationship to God

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8: 1-2).

God’s love is not withdrawn when we make mistakes or fall short.  We grieve His heart at such times, but He does not turn away from or reject us.  We are His beloved children.  Even when our relationship with Him is rocky, He continues to love us immeasurably. Continue reading

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