October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is symbolized by the color purple or purple ribbon. Domestic violence can happen to anyone. It is most often women and children who become victims of domestic violence. Men are also affected by abuse.
Each year the number of domestic violence cases continues to rise and claims the lives of women and children in record numbers. Being a victim of abuse is highly likely among women of color who live in poverty. It also claims women victims who come from wealth and prestige. Many women and children who are victims endure the abuse in silence, feel helpless, and think there is no way out.
Domestic violence is about power and control. The abuser inflicts his or her will on the victim. It usually starts off with verbal abuse, mind manipulation, and later turns physical. Some abusers never use physical abuse but they verbally assault their victims to establish fear and control.
In the Christian community, many women believe they are bound to domestic violence due to the obligation to their marriage. This is untrue. Being unequally yoked is a sin and a marriage that was not called by God in the first place. God never intended for us to endure an abusive spouse that could one day end our lives.
Domestic violence affects the survivors often for a lifetime even after they are no longer being abused. It changes how they view themselves and how they view relationships. It alters their self-worth and dignity.
Abuse can happen in many relationship dynamics. Parents can abuse children. Children can grow up and abuse elderly parents. Employers can abuse employees. Relationships can appear friendly and then turn into abuse, manipulation, and control.
Many people often view domestic violence as partner abuse. Domestic violence can happen in any relationship dynamic where there is control, manipulation, power, and abuse. Know the warning signs. You should be able to maintain full control of your actions, will, desires, and identity in any relationship. You should never have to change how you carry yourself or be in fear of being you because of being controlled by another individual.
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, as to being together of the grace of life that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7)”.
“Husbands love your wives and do not be bitter toward them” (Colossians 3:19).
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy, love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
God never intended for anyone to be a slave or bonded to another person. Life is sometimes unfair, and people are under the influence of evil spirits and do not see themselves. God loves us unconditionally and when we face these situations at the hands of others, it is not God’s doing, it is the enemy.
Speak up and speak out, especially if you are a survivor. I am a survivor of many forms of abuse. We need to understand many people suffer in silence, think no one cares, and feel they are alone. Help is out there. You can get out. You can survive.
No one has to remain a victim of domestic violence. No control. No manipulation. No abuse. There are no chains holding you or me. Jesus came to set the captives free. This is freedom from all forms of bondage. This is spiritual as well as physical. You are meant to be liberated and free.
In the United States, there are domestic violence shelters. Each county in each state will have domestic violence resources and law enforcement work with these agencies. Some agencies provide legal aid but they are limited. Seeking legal assistance can be costly but getting out of an abusive situation is possible. Be encouraged.