Category Archives: Violence Against Women

Moving Beyond Intimate Partner Violence

https://art-sheep.com/12-of-the-most-powerful-and-brutal-domestic-violence-awareness-campaigns/

“Violence that occurs between intimate partners does not end with the relationship’s conclusion, yet few resources exist to help survivors move beyond the betrayal of abusive relationships in order to begin new, healthy relationships.”

-“Intimate partner violence doesn’t end with the relationship”,  Science Daily, 7/11/18

Some estimates are that one in three women in the United States has experienced violence by a partner, and that one in ten has been raped by a partner.

Abusive behavior by an intimate partner is not, however, limited to physical violence.  It can include verbal, emotional, and financial abuse.

All this is experienced as betrayal by the very individual we most trust, the very individual we rely on to support and protect us, the very individual to whom we have committed our lives.

Shame

The shame associated with intimate partner violence is likely to carry over into new relationships.  This may influence our choice of a new partner.

Once a new relationship has been established, self-esteem issues stemming from the violent relationship can color the routine problems that arise in all relationships.  We may wonder whether we deserve love at all. Continue reading

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Red Flags

It can be difficult, at the outset of a relationship, to predict whether a prospective partner will become abusive.  However, there are certain danger signals which, in combination, should not be ignored.  These involve embarrassment/criticism, control/manipulation, isolation, blame, threats, and violence.

Here is a list of “red flags” [1][2]:

Embarrassment/Criticism

  • A partner who regularly disparages your friends, family, ideas, and goals.
  • A partner who deliberately embarrasses and insults you.  Such a partner may humiliate you in public, or criticize you viciously in private.  He or she may attack your looks or your parenting skills, as a means of undermining your confidence.

Control/Manipulation

  • A partner who prevents you from making decisions. This interference may, at first, be as simple as telling you what you can and cannot wear to work.
  • A partner who is extremely jealous and possessive.  Such a partner continually tracks where you go, whom you meet, and what you do.  He or she may expect to you check in, throughout the day, and spend every moment of your free time with him/her.
  • A partner with a hair-trigger temper. You walk on eggshells to keep the peace.
  • A partner who takes your money or refuses to provide you necessary income for expenses.
  • A partner who plays “mind games” to make you feel guilty.  Such a partner may, for instance, threaten to commit suicide if you leave him or her.
  • A partner who pressures you to have sex, or to engage in a type of sexual activity with which you are not comfortable.
  • A partner who prevents you from using birth control.
  • A partner who pressures you to use drugs or alcohol.

Continue reading

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Unbiblical, Part 1 – Submission v. Self-Defense

In a misguided effort to provide comfort and direction to abuse victims, well-meaning Christians will often quote Bible verses out of context or cite biblical principles which do not apply to abuse, thereby actually exacerbating the pain victims feel.

As a result, victims may turn away from the real comfort they would find in Christ.

This series of articles is intended to clarify – both for Christians, and abuse victims interacting with them – certain Scriptural passages and principles that could otherwise be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Submission v. Self-Defense

Perhaps the most damaging is the principle of “headship”.  The basis for this can be found in Chapter 5 of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, among a set of instructions on holy living for both men and women.  The entire chapter speaks of Christians loving and being “submissive” to one another.

The frequently overlooked instruction to husbands (highlighted below) is an integral part of the principle:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for her [Emphasis added]…” (Eph. 5: 22-25).

God alone knows how many battered women have lost their lives on bad and unbiblical advice from a priest or minister that they return to a dangerous household, and submit to the will of their abusive, alcoholic, or drug addicted husbands. Continue reading

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

“Domestic Violence in the Church” by Stephanie Jafta

First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI, Author DavidCrumm (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

I have discussed elsewhere the Scriptures clergy mistakenly use against victims of domestic violence.  This post by Stephanie Jafta addresses the responsibility of the church toward such victims.

“The words ‘domestic violence’ and ‘church’ do not belong together and do not exist in the same context.  To deny this would seem traitorous and unfaithful, and yet, to ignore it would bring into question our faith, values, and beliefs as Christians.  Domestic violence is alive and kicking in the church, and turning a blind eye to the plight of women, children, and men will only strengthen the excuses made for the abuse…[Continued at https://godinterest.com/2018/08/08/domestic-violence-in-the-church/ ].”

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Why Victims Don’t Leave

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Sexual Violence Among Children On Base

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Photo courtesy James Worthington/Pinterest

The Senate has ordered an independent evaluation of how the Defense Dept. deals with child sexual violence on military bases [1].  This follows an Associated Press investigation which exposed multiple failures, in instances with underage victims and assailants [2].

The US Armed Forces have attempted to come to terms with the rape of female soldiers for the past 10 years.  But reports of rape and sexual assault among children on base often die a slow death, under mountains of paperwork and red tape.  Some are deliberately buried.

The Defense Dept. does not, it seems, even track such reports for statistical purposes.  The Associated Press, however, managed to uncover nearly 600 cases between 2007-2018. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Molestation, Justice, Law, Rape, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

Branding, Forced Tattooing, and Domestic Abuse

Author Edgeplay101 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

“As we advocate in our guides to Intimate Partner Violence, one of the most crucial things to remember about domestic violence and child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is that control is a huge factor, and often the perpetrators of abuse will go to great lengths to maintain control over their victims.  One lesser known way that some perpetrators do this is by ‘branding’ their victims, or forcing them to get tattoos or body modifications, usually of the perpetrator’s name, that are meant to symbolize their ‘ownership’ of the victim.

This form of abuse is rare but particularly traumatic, as body modification is a very personal choice and having it imposed on your body against your will can feel like an extreme personal violation…[Continued at https://stmlearning.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/branding-victims-forced-tattooing-and-domestic-abuse/ ].”

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Hope for Sex Trafficking Survivors

Acer Aspire 4930G laptop, Author Jeff777BC (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Catie Hart was trafficked by a man she thought of as her boyfriend.  Their relationship became increasingly threatening, till the 18 y.o. was forced into prostitution.  Fear kept her from escaping.

The line between “boyfriend” and “trafficker” was intentionally blurred from the outset.  This type of grooming is typical.  Catie’s story did not though end there.  She is now training to become a computer programmer.

The fledgling non-profit AnnieCannons https://www.anniecannons.com/ helps survivors of human trafficking achieve financial independence by teaching them web design.  Since survivors are often stigmatized by a past which includes an arrest record, AnnieCannons, also, assists graduates of its program with networking and job placement.

Obstacles remain.  The non-profit operates on a small scale.  While involved with the program, survivors must provide their own food and housing.  With limited job skills, some continue to work in so called “gentlemen’s” clubs to do this.

But, as Helen Keller, said:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Christ, of course, offers hope to all.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Cor. 5: 17).

[1]  Global Post, “This sex trafficking survivor is moving 0n — by learning how to code” by Arthur Nazaryan,  8/17/18, https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-08-17/sex-trafficking-survivor-moving-learning-how-code.

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Credibility

Detail from “Allegory of Justice” by Claude Laprade (1702), Museo Nacional Machado de Castro, Portugal, Author P.Lameiro (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Given the recent #MeToo Movement, the Roman Catholic Church sex scandal, and the growing frequency of child abuse allegations in the context of custody disputes, the issue of credibility is crucial.

False allegations – whether of rape or child abuse which did not occur – are a serious concern.  Lives and careers can be destroyed by them.

Signs of Truthfulness

There are factors which tend to support the truthfulness of victims.  These include the following:

  • A complaint to authority, in close proximity to the alleged event.
  • Documented physical injury, in close proximity to the alleged event.
  • Changes in the behavior of a child, in close proximity to the alleged event.
  • Detailed descriptions of sexual interaction by a young child.
  • Multiple victims, unrelated to one another.
  • Recurrent victims, when an accused relocates or is reassigned.

None of these factors, by themselves, assure that allegations are grounded in fact.  Each, however, carries some weight.  All are present in the Catholic Church sex scandal. Continue reading

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Christian Marriage and the Misuse of Scripture, Part 4 – Public Shame

Purple flag at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC, in commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Source https://www.marines.mil (PD as work product of federal govt.)

Women are often reluctant to make abuse public, as if their lives did not matter.  Speaking out about domestic violence, and seeking help for it, are said to bring shame on the family and the church.

The truth is that abuse starts an avalanche of harm that can extend for generations.  Whatever consequences flow from domestic violence, they result from the abuser’s actions – not the attempts by his victim to defend herself and her children, or escape the abuse.

The Catholic Church sex scandal illustrates how bad the organized church is at dealing with victims.  Focus Ministries http://www.focusministries1.org is just one Christian organization helping the victims of domestic violence, while training churches how better to respond to abuse [1][2].

Though priests and ministers have endorsed them at times, the Scriptural passages keeping women in abusive relationships are taken out of context.  Satan uses these snippets – these lies – to undermine women’s faith, and destroy their lives.

But in Christ we are set free.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5: 1).


[1]  Today’s Christian Woman, “The Silent Epidemic” by Corrie Cutrer, September 2004, http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2004/september/silent-epidemic.html.

[2]  1 Cor. 6: 1-11 and Matt. 18: 17 address conflict between Christians, and the use of secular courts.  However, church intervention was never intended to shield sinful behavior, or place lives in danger.

Originally posted 10/4/15

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