~This is a very old blog of mine from over 6 years ago. Still true though...~
1 Corinthians 7:39
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
I Corinthians 7:15
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
The state of marriage today has gone awry. The plan of God regarding marriage was:
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
The enemy has launched an all out attack on marriages. One of the enemies of marriage is domestic violence. Many in the church do not talk about it, pretend like it does not happen.
Here are some facts and statistics from the Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute:
Domestic violence is any forceful behavior one adult uses to control another. It can be physical (beating), verbal (threats), sexual (rape), economic (taking her money), and psychological (mind games).
90-95% of DV victims are women, many are active in their local church.
Nearly 2 in 3 female victims of violence were related to or knew their attacker.
75% of the visits to emergency rooms by battered women occur after separation
One-third of all female homicide victims are killed by husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends or ex-boyfriends.
Abusive men who kill their partners serve an average of two-to-six year prison terms.
Almost 25% of pregnant women seeking prenatal care have been battered during pregnancy.
The March of Dimes reports that pregnant women are at particular risk of being battered by spouses. More babies are now being born with birth defects as a result of the mother being battered during pregnancy than from the combination of all the diseases for which we immunize pregnant women.
In a national survey of over 6,000 American families, 50% of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.
Domestic violence is a very real tragedy in the church today. We don’t want to talk about it.
We shout over it. We dance over it.
But what happens when we get home?
God hates divorce. He created marriage to be something beautiful. Something to show this world the relationship between the church and Himself. The Word of God says husbands ought to love their wives how? As Christ loved the Church!
And what did He do to prove His love?
He gave His Life for the Church!
Now, if Jesus gave His life for the Church, His Bride, then who do you think is behind husbands killing their wives?
And nowhere in the Bible does it say a woman should stay with an abusive husband, or vice versa.
Wives abuse their husbands, too. Either way it is wrong!
God has called us to peace. That is especially for those suffering in abusive relationships or marriages. It is not God’s will that you remain in danger. B/c that is what you are, in danger! Yes, God sends His angels of protection.
But why stay in a burning building-wanting to see if He will do you like He did Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego-if God has provided a way of escape???
That is not wise.
Anyone in an abusive relationship should get out as soon as they can. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom on how to leave an abuser, who to get involved with the process, and where to go.
God did it for me. I just made up my mind that I wasn’t gonna let anyone abuse me. And when I saw how my oldest son reacted as a baby when he saw us fighting like that, it broke my heart and that look on his face gave me all the courage I needed to leave.
If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your kids…
If you know anyone who is suffering like this, don’t be silent about it. Don’t say, ‘It is not my business. I can’t say anything.’ No. I would rather have someone be angry with me and I said something to save their lives then to not have said anything and be burying them way too young, like we did with my cousin over 15 years ago.
God loves you and wants you save you from that madness!
Seek to get out by His Hand of Mercy and Power!
Separation Safety Plan
Complaint #:___________ Officer: Net______________
The following steps represent my plan for increasing my safety and preparing in advance for the possibility for further violence. Although I do not have control over my partner's violence, I do have a choice about how to respond to him/her and how to best get myself and my children to safety.
Safety during a violent incident. Victims cannot always avoid violent incidents. In order to increase safety, battered victims may use a variety of strategies.
I can use some or all of the following strategies:
If I decide to leave, I will ___________________. (Practice how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells or fire escapes would you use?)
I can keep my money and car keys ready and put them (place) _________________ in order to leave quickly.
I can tell _____________________about the violence and request they call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my house.
I can teach my children how to use the telephone to contact the police and the fire department.
I will use _______________________ as my code for my children or my friends so they can call for help.
If I have to leave my home, I will go _____________________ (Decide this even if you don't think there will be a next time).
If I cannot go to the location above, then I can go to___________________________or ______________________________.
I can also teach some of these strategies to some/all my children.
When I expect we are going to have an argument, I will try to move to a space that is lowest risk, such as ____________ ____________________. (Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near weapons or in rooms without access to an outside door).
I will use my judgment and intuition. If the situation is very serious, I can give my partner what he/she wants to calm him/her down. I have to protect myself until I/we are out of danger.
Safety when preparing to leave. Battered victims frequently leave the residence they share with the battering partner. Leaving must be done with a careful plan in order to increase safety. Batterers often strike back when they believe that a battered victim is leaving the relationship.
I can use some or all the following safety strategies:
I will leave money and an extra set of keys with _____________ so that I can leave quickly.
I will keep copies of important documents or keys at _______________________.
I will open a savings account by ______________, to increase my independence.
Other things I can do to increase my independence include:
The domestic violence program's hot line number is 297-8833 (Metro Police Domestic Violence -880-3000) and I can seek shelter by calling this hot line.
I can keep change for phone calls on me at all times. I under stand that if I use my telephone credit card, the following month the telephone bill will tell my batterer those numbers that I called after I left. To keep my telephone communications confidential, I must either use coins or I might get a friend to permit me to use their telephone credit card for a limited time when I first leave.
I will check with ____________________ and _____________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.
I can leave extra clothes with _________________________.
I will sit down and review my safety plan every ______________ in order to plan the safest way to leave the residence. _____________ (domestic violence advocate or friend) has agreed to help me review this plan.
I will rehearse my escape plan and, as appropriate, practice it with my children.
Safety in my own residence. There are many things that a victim can do to increase her/his safety in their own residence. It may be impossible to do everything at once, but safety measures can be added step by step.
Safety measures I can use include:
I can change the locks on my doors and windows as soon as possible.
I can replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors.
I can install security systems including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.
I can purchase rope ladders to be used for escape from second floor windows.
I can install smoke detectors and purchase fire extinguishers for each floor in my house/apartment.
I can install an outside lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to my house.
I will teach my children how to use the telephone to make a collect call to me and to _______________(friend/minister/ other) in the event that my partner takes the children.
I will tell people who take care of my children which people have permission to pick up my children and that my partner is not permitted to do so. The people I will inform about pick-up permission include:
__________________________________________(school),________________________________________(day care staff),________________________________________(babysitter),___________________________________(Sunday school teacher),________________________________________(teacher),________________________________________(and),________________________________________(others),
I can inform ______________________________(neighbors), _______________________________________(pastor), and, _______________________________________(friend) that my partner no longer resides with me and they should call the police if he is observed near my residence.
Safety with an Order of Protection. Many battered victims obey protection orders, but one can never be sure which violent partner will obey and which will violate protection orders. I recognize that I may need to ask the police and the court to enforce my protection order.
The following are some steps that I can take to help the enforcement of my protection order:
I will keep my protection order _________________(location) (Always keep it on or near your person).
I will give my protection order to police departments in the communities where I usually visit family or friends, and in the community where I live.
There should be a county registry of protection orders that all police departments can call to confirm a protection order. I can check to make sure that my order is in registry. The telephone number for the county registry of protection order is _________________________________.
For further safety, if I often visit other counties in Louisiana, I might file my protection order with the court in those counties. I will register my protection order in the following counties:
___________________ and _________________ that I have a protection order in effect.
I can call the local domestic violence program if I am not sure about B, C, or D above or if I have some problem with my protection order.
I will inform my employer, my minister, my closest friend and _____________ and ____________that I have a protection order in effect.
If my partner destroys my protection order, I can get another copy from the Davidson County Courthouse by going to the Circuit Court Clerk's office on the 5th floor.
If my partner violates the protection order, I can call the police and report a violation, contact my attorney, call my advocate, and/or advise the court of the violation.
If the police do no help, I can contact my advocate or attorney and will file a complaint with the chief of the police department.
I can also file a private criminal compliant with the district justice in the jurisdiction where the violation occurred or with the district attorney. I can charge my battering partner with a violation of the Order of Protection and all the crimes that he/she commits in violating the order. I can call the domestic violence advocate to help me with this.
Step 5: Safety on the job and in public. Each battered victim must decide if and when he/she will tell others that their partner has battered them and that he/she may be at continued risk. Friends, family and co-workers can help to protect victims. Each victim should consider carefully which people to invite to help secure his/her safety.
I might do any or all of the following:
I can inform my boss, the security supervisor and ___________ at work of my situation.
I can ask ________________ to help screen my telephone calls at work.
When leaving work, I can _____________________________________ __________________________________________.
When driving home if problems occur, I can _______________________________ __________________________________.
If I use public transit, I can ________________________________________ _______________________________________.
I will go to different grocery stores and shopping malls to conduct my business and shop at hours that are different than those when residing with my battered partner.
I can use a different bank and take care of my banking at hours different from those I used when residing with my battered partner.
I can also __________________________________________.
Safety and drug or alcohol use. Most people in this culture use alcohol. Many use mood-altering drugs. Much of this use is legal and some is not. The legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be very hard on a battered victim, may hurt his/her relationship with their children and put him/her at a disadvantage in other legal actions with the battering partner. Therefore, victims should carefully consider the potential cost of the use of illegal drugs. But beyond this, the use of any alcohol or other drug can reduce a victim's awareness and ability to act quickly to protect themselves from the battering partner. Furthermore, the use of alcohol or other drugs by the batterer may give him/her an excuse to use violence. Therefore, in the context of drug or alcohol use, a victim needs to make specific safety plans.
If drug or alcohol use has occurred in my relationship with the battering partner, I can enhance my safety by some or all of the following:
If I am going to use, I can do so in a safe place and with people who understand the risk of violence and are committed to my safety.
I can also ___________________________________________.
If my partner is using, I can _____________________________.
I might also _________________________________________.
To safeguard my children, I might ________________________ and ______________________________________________.
Safety and my emotional health. The experience of being battered and verbally degraded by partners is usually exhausting and emotionally draining. The process of building a new life for myself takes much courage and incredible energy.
To conserve my emotional energy and resources and to avoid hard emotional times, I can do some of the following:
If I feel down and ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, I can _____________________________________________.
When I have to communicate with my partner in person or by telephone, I can ____________________________________.
I can try to use "I can . . . " statements with myself and to be assertive with others.
I can tell myself - "_____________________________________ ______________________________" whenever I feel others are trying to control or abuse me.
I can read ____________________________to help me feel stronger.
I can call ___________________, ___________________ and _________________as other resources to be of support of me.
Other things I can do to help me feel stronger are __________________________, and _______________________________.
I can attend workshops and support groups at the domestic violence program or _________________________, or _____ _______________to gain support and strengthen my relationship with other people.
Items to take when leaving. When victims leave partners, it is important to take certain items with them. Beyond this, victims sometimes give an extra copy of papers and an extra set of clothing to a friend just in case they have to leave quickly.
Money : Even if I have never worked, I can legally take 1/2 of the funds in the checking and savings accounts as Louisiana is a community property state. If I don't take any money from the accounts, he/she can legally take all money and/or close the account and I may not get my share until the court rules on it if ever.
These items might be placed in one location, so that if we have to leave in a hurry, I can grab them quickly.
When I leave, I should have:
Identification for myself
Children's birth certificate
My birth certificate
Social security cards
School and vaccination records
Checkbook, ATM (Automatic Tellers Machine) card
Keys - house/car/office
Driver's license and registration
Welfare identification, work permits, Green card
Passport(s), Divorce papers
Medical records - for all family members
Lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book
Bank books, Insurance papers
Small saleable objects
Children's favorite toys and/or blankets
Items of special sentimental value
Telephone numbers I need to know:
Police department - home - 911
Metro Domestic Violence Division - _______________________
District Attorney General's Office -_______________________
Police department - school _____________________________
Police department - work ______________________________
Battered victims program -______________________________
County registry of protection orders ______________________
Supervisor's home number_____________________________
I will keep this document in a safe place and out of the reach of my potential attacker.
IF YOU NEED HELP IN FILLING OUT THIS PLAN YOU MAY ASK METRO POLICE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DIVISION DETECTIVES, COUNSELORS, YMCA SHELTER WORKER, THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S VICTIM WITNESS OFFICE PERSONNEL OR A CLOSE AND TRUSTED FRIEND.
Can I just go to a friend’s house?
It is always best to go to a shelter as a safe haven because your abuser won’t know where you are. If you go to a relative’s or friend’s house, they will follow you and could possibly harm them.(Remember the Carto family in Mary Poppins.)
In a battered woman shelter, the staff does their best to accommodate all incoming women and children. You may get your own room and bathroom, as well as meals, counseling, legal advice, transportation, toiletries and housing assistance.
They will explain what your options are in this situation. They will motivate you to go on with your life, heal from this trauma, and encourage you that you can make it. You can live LIFE without your abuser!
If you keep up your end of the bargain, as far as sticking to the plan carved out when you are admitted to the shelter, stay focused, and pray, God will see you through and give you favor across the board. With the courts, with housing assistance, with just about anything you and the kids would need.
Remember, NO weapon formed against you shall prosper! Just as Rahab let down the spies with the red cord and they escaped in the book of Joshua, God has a way of escape for you! You are worth SO much more than being abused. Than allowing your kids to see you abused. Get out and let God heal you and your family and watch Him move in your life!
Min. W. Russ