Today is the last day of October. Many individuals are celebrating Halloween. It is also the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Last Friday, I attended a Domestic Violence Vigil at the YWCA of Northwest GA. The YWCA has a special place in my heart because it has helped so many women, men and children escape abuse. I held a white rose in my hand and I put it in the coffin as a remembrance of a woman who did not get a chance to live her life. This year domestic violence received a lot of coverage due to the high profile cases in the NFL. However, the same atrocity is taking place in many homes in America.
Did you know that an estimated 1.3 million women experienced some type of physical abuse by an intimate partner each year? However, domestic violence does not only affect women. You have children living in violence and learning to be deceitful as a coping mechanism. You have men wasting their lives because they are not living and serving their families to their full potential. In some cases, both spouses are violent toward each other and in some cases the women are violent toward the men. You can look at it from all angles, it is wrong and disgusting.
Photo Courtesy of U.S. Navy Imagery under Flickr Creative Commons
The breakdown that occurs in family due to domestic violence is huge. Yet, when I give talks to Christian married groups, domestic violence is sometime sweep under the carpet. You hear – I’m praying for him and I’m praying for her. Prayer is wonderful and great. It is always needed. However, domestic violence requires action and prayer. Not just prayer.
Why she stays with him? Maybe spiritually, emotionally and financially she is paralyzed, and she believes that she has nowhere to go. Her self-esteem has been stripped from her soul. She fears leaving him more than getting help for herself.
Why he is putting up with the abuse when he is a man? Maybe he is ashamed. He has been emasculated emotionally. He was taught not to hit a woman. Domestic violence is like cancer to the victim and the perpetrator. Many individuals hide the domestic violence and its secrecy is one of the reasons it keeps going. Love, family, for the children, faith, fear of starting over, fear of the unknown, fear of loneliness, the dream, the promise of change, status, are some of the reasons that many spouses have told me they stayed.
Can a marriage be restored after experiencing domestic violence? Yes. In working with men and women who have restored their marriages after domestic violence both parties took ownership to change their way of thinking about each other. When safety was an issue, they separated. They fought to learn to trust each other again. They did not just pray it away. They took action. And some couples are still fighting for their marriages. I applaud them for it. Some spouses had to face legal actions before they see the magnitude of domestic violence. I applaud women and men who decided that they will no longer tolerate domestic violence.
Domestic violence is not a celebrity or NFL issue. Yes, the recent NFL case shed more light on it, but it is happening in your backyard and in my backyard. The month of October is not and will not be the only time I address domestic violence. I urge you to do the same. So if you know a man or a woman who is experiencing domestic violence, please give them the hotline number listed below. Perhaps, they are not ready to make the change now, but you can plant that seed. You have taken action and you have done more than just pray.
Take Action: I have worked with the men and women. I have seen individuals who had the chance to leave abusive relationships, but decided to go back. One thing I know for sure, an individual will leave a domestic violence relationship when he or she is ready to leave. You can help tremendously by not participating in the secret of death and by giving the resource below. Pass the resource today to someone you know that need it.
Question: Domestic violence is not taking place just in the NFL or in the life of celebrities. It is in your back yard. In hat other ways you can reach out to someone that have been affected by domestic violence?
Resource: National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
Thank you for reading