Domestic Violence is any type of abuse that occurs; emotional, physical, sexual or economic.
Emotional/psychological abuse is often more severe than the physical abuse a victim suffers. The abusive partner wishes to dominate and control the victim, and uses any means necessary to force their demands. The abuser generally threatens the victim and makes the victim fear for their lives and the lives of their children. The victim often stays because the abuser threatens to kill the victim if he or she threatens to leave.
DV in The Pews
The covenant of Christian marriage is a lifelong commitment witnessed by God, designed to be a mutual giving of self to the other, which values respect and equality between partners. It can be dishonored by either partner when violence or abuse fractures the relationship and breaks the trust. Neither partner should be expected to remain in an abusive situation.
Often, one partner feels obligated to remain and do everything possible to make the marriage work; however, responsibility for the abuse rests with the one who is abusive. A public acknowledgement of the abuse, such as marriage or pastoral counseling, is one step towards taking responsibility. If the one who is being abused is not willing or able to change, then the question of separation and divorce arises. Removing oneself from a volatile situation is of utmost importance. In violent homes, divorce is not breaking up families. Violence and abuse are breaking up families.
Power & Control by an abuser can be manifested in these ways and can have an end result of domestic violence.
Using Coercion and threats:
Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her
- Threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare
- Making her drop charges
- Making her do illegal things
- Making her afraid by using
Looks, actions, gestures
- Smashing things,
Destroying her property
- Abusing pets
- Displaying weapons
Using Emotional Abuse:
- Putting her down, calling her names
- Making her feel bad about herself
- Making her think she’s crazy
- Playing mind games
- Humiliating her, making her feel guilty
- Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes
- Limiting her outside involvement
- Using jealousy to justify actions
Using Economic Abuse:
- Preventing her from getting or keeping a job
- Making her ask for money, giving her an allowance, taking her money
- Not letting her know about or have access to family income
Using Male Privilege:
- Treating her like a servant
- Making all the big decisions
- Acting like the “master of the castle”
- Being the one to define men’s and women’s roles
- Making her feel guilty about the children
- Using the children to relay messages
- Using visitation to harass her
- Threatening to take the children away
Minimizing, Denying and Blaming:
- Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously
- Saying the abuse didn’t happen
- Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying she caused it
Domestic Violence occurs among all ages, races and religions. It happens to people of all educational backgrounds and income levels. It happens everywhere.
Domestic Violence is not just a family problem. It is a crime with serious repercussions.
Domestic Violence can involve threats, pushing, punching, slapping, choking, sexual assault, and assault with weapons. It is rarely a one-time occurrence and usually escalates in frequency and severity over time. Any act of domestic violence has been never justified or acceptable.
Abuse is a learned behavior, not a mental illness. The abuser’s experience as a child and the message this abuser gets from society in general, tell him/her that violence is an effective means to achieve power and control over their partner. Abusers need to be held accountable for the learned behavior to change.
Domestic violence often begins or escalates during pregnancy.