Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Church is Afraid to speak of Domestic Violence!

Posted by Hannah at 7:26 AM

I have to say at times I get so burned out speaking of this subject - emotional abuse, verbal abuse and domestic violence. It seems no one listens, and no one hears except for the victims themselves! The victims are WHOM I'm addressing most of the time. I want to make sure they feel heard, and I want them to feel they are NOT alone and shame is NOT something that everyone uses to HUSH them up! I feel at times people that see people like myself that speak about abuse as some joke, and we are not be taken seriously. I dare to speak of something that is taboo, and since I speak so much of it I must have a one track mind. Everything in my world must be seen as abusive. Its strange to me how they can't see that some people are able to view things, and realize the difference.

People speak of the healing of faith, and how God can bring healing and peace. The difference between God and those that speak of it at times seems to be that when we do receive healing and peace we are still seen as broken to the church family. Its like we have some label attached to us that can never be removed.

I don't believe that abuse is gender based, and I do believe that men can also be victims of their wives and partners. We hear all the time of stories of abusive mothers (which seems more common place in the news media), and it confuses me as to why others don't feel that abuse can be carried on towards men (or spouses) in their lives as well.

The stereotypes of what men SHOULD be or ARE I think at times is the biggest burden! I read at times they feel its the feminist movement. I have to disagree with that statement. LOL NOT because I'm a feminist, but because I guess I tend to place to much of other types of logic towards issues! HECK the world can't take domestic violence serious enough from what they feel is the 'real' victims, and I see men having to get handed a bigger burden of being believed!

The world at large has blinders on for the most part! If they don't understand or shallow the 'women's' part - which they don't for the most part - why in heavens name would they believe the 'macho' end of things? YEP I'm talking stereotypes! MEN should be able to defend themselves! Okay then. Sigh! That to me shows ignorance of the issue overall.

Here we have the secular world that to me is doing a better of job of attempting to learn the dynamics of abuse, and then you have the church that tends to use scripture to avoid it. They tend to remind me of the superstitious people of the past!

If you just view it as the devil's world, and just do your JOB as a Christian God will make it go away!

If you just place it at the foot of the cross Jesus will take that burden from you!

If you are upset you are doing things out of GETTING and not SERVING!

I have to say that the faith world has more excuses to NOT deal with SIN than the secular world does! The secular world at times also places the burden of the abuse upon the victims, but the church at times are champions of that cause!

In the past you didn't speak of such things!

ITS takes TWO to tango!

They are both NUTS it seems!

Don't speak of it, and those poor children will live their lives the right way - GOD WILLING!

We are NOW living the burden of the silence! Men in the past would risk their manhood - as the world viewed it - if they dared admit things as well. That hasn't changed all that much sadly.

To me there are two types of feminists! The radicals that take things a bit to far, and are and those that I'm thankful for! I'm able to vote, own property and basically have ROOM to make my own mistakes in alot of realms that were never granted to those woman of the past! I don't believe that men want to keep us down, and for the most part do things to keep us there. Are there some? LOL oh yes!

I don't have issue with women that work, and I don't have issue with women that don' the secular view of the work place okay? I think there are families that juggle careers and family very well, and those that fail miserably! I don't think all or even MOST of the burden should be laid upon the woman as I see some churches attempting. Men or Fathers are important to little boys and girls, and JUST as important are fathers to their children! I also realized no gender is immune when it comes to neglect, abuse, etc to the family. My own father traveled alot, but to his credit when he was home made sure there was special time for his children. I'm sure some men would think he has 'female' traits because of his sensitive nature. I'm sure at times he struggled with that. I for one am glad he had it, and I know my brother would say the same.

I have even read stories of fathers staying home with the children while their wives brought home the bacon.......and both were evil! He was showing to many female traits, and she was basically in sin all over the place. Mr MOM as the movies would call it to me is individual. God makes us all different, and if it works for everyone I truly don't take issue with it! She isn't the authority of the home because she brings home the money! LOL! As if that is the definition! Supporting and being the head has a broader definition. Respect the gifts that God gave you for goodness sakes! YES I know the bible states the man is support the family and all, but it doesn't say income is the definition of that!

In my home MOM was the emotionally detached one - per the stereotype of men compared to Dad! I'm NOT saying she was that to extreme as the world would see it, but Dad at times was easier to cuddle up and get close to! I have to say that confused me for a long time, until I realized the domestic violence that she dealt with growing up...and the church in my eyes basically endorsed that! She did what she had to and survived, and never felt safe enough to let go. That's was society at the time (and seems WORSE than today even!), but she did get better as time rolled by! I think there was alot of factors for that, and she may even struggle with that for life. Dad also had his domestic issues growing up, and it made him more sensitive I'm sure.

Emotional abuse is basically a joke to the church. Its basically a joke to much of the world. They think acting like a jerk - which we can all be at times - is called abusive. DEAL WITH IT as Dr. Laura says and get over it! If they had a clue what the definition entailed maybe they wouldn't be such JERKS to victims! Abuse is a pattern of behavior, and NO it isn't NOT dependent on submission and feeling honored, loved and all the rest! I believe the church trains enablers. GOD doesn't train enablers, but the church does!

LETS look at addicts for a moment okay? If we pray enough do they turn their lives around automatically? I'm not going to say there aren't some, but what about MOST? What do the parents, siblings, partners, etc do when they just HUSH it away with excuses like hard times, joblessness, and just basically life ROTS type of excuses? They tend to prolong things for the most part right? I can't tell you how many stories I have read of people that basically endured domestic abuse, and then when finally BROKE and did something extreme like slap them or screamed or call them names the brunt of the backlash because they admitted it. They admitted they broke under the pressure, and must endure the condemning statements towards their behavior. The pressure that led up to that act? That may be touched on a bit, but not truly taken into account. The way they are treated its as if it didn't happen. People are just NOT capable of seeing the whole picture. They may have been told about parts of the picture, but its quickly pushed off as 'we are only hearing YOUR version!" They treat them like that sentence also. YOUR version of things! I have yet to see a version that is quickly taken seriously for the most part.

Is there no difference, and am I justify this - their reactions after a while? HECK no! They do call it reactive abuse. The difference is the approach, and the willingness to do things for their partner to show their respect, honor and love..and yet finally broke and lashed back! They broke because they are human, and being human is what they are crucified for! The constant BAM BAM BAM of the abusive nature was returned by words or a slap! They are equal now with them, and are NOW just as abusive! You see a true Christian wouldn't do such a thing! Since they aren't allowed an outlet to speak with or have empathy with....they are to be the perfect humans and endure! HATE to say this but most of us would break after a while! We are all to be the perfect Jesus in the face of a broken spouse, and if you can't do that you are JUST as bad as they are! No one can be Jesus. The people that use those types of statements aren't anywhere close either! LOOK what Jesus endured they tell you! They forget about the many times he almost got stoned, and fled because it wasn't his time yet. He endured the torture and the cross for a purpose, and people have to ask themselves WHAT purpose is enduring domestic abuse? Do they seriously think there are true comparsions here? You have a family of broken and hurting people, and they are handed: Pray, Endure, Pray, Submit, Pray, LOVE THEM, Pray, HONOR THEM, Pray, and show proper LEADERSHIP, Pray, and will you PLEASE keep it down its to ugly for us to deal with! This behavior doesn't belong in the church so STOP! That is what they are telling and showing people. They leave the broken people to heal themselves - by themselves - even when the bible speaks of the body of Christ is to help one another. Their 'help' isn't help, and people get tired and worn out they are told WELL that's because you don't have enough faith, etc.

I get crispy dealing with this issue of domestic violence or domestic abuse within the church. I get tired when people refuse to see it, and I get exhausted when they make excuses for it. To me we are to deal with it as the body of Christ. For the most part we aren't. There are days in which I want to give up. I won't delete the blog, but I do feel like I need to stop writing. Then I get my second wind, and I see there are now so many gifted writers out there that are now writing about this also! I pray that we as a collective group can make people hear. The church is afraid to speak of domestic violence! I guess others will have to do it for them. vent for the day.

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Danni on 12:41 PM said...

You're right on! Keep saying it.

-- Danni

Rhia on 1:06 AM said...

Hannah there are those of us out here that here you and agree. I am very thankful you are open minded enough to acknowledge that abuse is wrong no matter who does it.

I'll describe for you my home life currently (briefly I hope).

My wife and I have been together for many years now and are both divorced from abusive spouses.

We are both educated (both have master's and professional licensure in our respective professions) and both work.

However our "roles" are not what many people would say is the norm. We both love and respect each other. Part of that respect is understanding how we both have strengths and weaknesses and how can we best compliment each other.

So I have, for over 15 years, been the primary caretaker of the home (my kids even kid me about bing a mom). I do all the cooking, the cleaning, laundry, and most of the child rearing over the years as well as work. I now work 3 days a week instead of 5 so as to be with the children.

She works full time and is the main provider and has been for about 4 years now with me working part time. Because of the professions we are in she can (and does) make a lot more money and she is an outstanding employee who enjoys what she does.

So we have the "roles" reversed in my house and it works wonderfully well. It does not make me any less of a man and I would argue it makes me more of a "man" to do these things.

Abuse is abuse and it is always wrong. There is no excuse. If I abuse my wife and kids the only person to blame for that is me not some warped religious stuff that she was not being submissive enough or any of that kinda garbage. Same thing applies if she is abusive.

My recent blog post has this tidbit in it:

Although women are most often the victims of domestic violence, surprisingly, men are battered by their partners more than 800,000 times a year, according to surveys cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So keep on taking Hannah and know that you are making a difference for this starfish :)

Hannah on 10:43 AM said...

Thank you for your note. It sounds like you are a perfect example of what I speak about. GOOD FOR YOU BOTH! I agree people should be concentrating on the gifts that God gave us, and open our minds as what the end result is...and not try to bang people into steroetypical roles they feel everyone should be. People are custom after all! God made us that way, and we need to appreciate that and NOT fight against it!

Looks like you have an awesome blog, and people need to know about it as well! I sent some notes off to people to call attention to it!

Blessings to you! Thank you again for your heart warming note.

Rhia on 11:53 PM said...

People are custom after all! God made us that way, and we need to appreciate that and NOT fight against it!

That is so true and I like how you said that. We are all made in God's image yet not one of us is alike. Religion/Church should be about lifting people up not holding them back or oppressing them. It is not about being restrictive it is about guidance and expansion.

I know there are times a client will ask me about religion and themselves and I let them know my view is that they need to be right with themselves, right with others and then right with God. Simple yet not so simple because of how so many people interpret "right".

I have met so many "godly men" who are in leadership positions who are not "right with themselves". If a person is not right with themselves it is difficult for them to help others. And no that does not mean perfect or without issues, it means knowing yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, and most importantly being honest with oneself even if it hurts and this is the most difficult thing of all.

Mother Teressa displayed this in her writings when she herself was honest with herself when she expressed her questioning of God.

If I have a controlling/domineering nature to me I need to acknowledge it. It is not bad thing nor a good thing it just is. What I do with it is what matters and if I am not right with myself about it, well it can come out in ways we see in some of these church leaders. If I am right with myself I can be right with others in how I use my nature for the good of others and in doing so become right with myself, others, and God. But if anyone of those three are out of whack, problems are lurking.

I say God but I must admit I mean that in a spiritual manner as much as a christian manner.

I hiope that made sense :)

Rhia on 12:49 AM said...

Hannah this is something that another pastor wrote that I think sums things up:

Asserting absolute truth claims that are not central to the faith and that lead to the exclusion and repression of others is not the witness of the gospel to which Jesus has called us. The gospel's truth cannot be communicated through propositions or prohibitions, especially when such propositions and prohibitions shackle people. The gospel is best communicated through acts of love and compassion and through attitudes of openness and humility. Love is the fulfillment of the law of God and love bears witness to the grace of God that calls all of us to put down our theological weapons and relinquish our power over others.

Anonymous said...

You refer to "The Church". Is this the Catholic Church? I find other churches more guilty of this - encouraging women to stay based on their interpretation of the Bible and accusing them of not honoring their vows. No mind these men have broken the covenant of marriage the first time they abused. Education for every creed is what matters. I was abused and my Church has been supportive and open to education. Seems anti-Catholic to me.

Hannah on 11:35 AM said...

Nope. Not referring to Catholics. Using the term as a general term. Some churches do get it, and I'm glad your's does!

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