Domestic violence kills people. The following link to a Domestic Violence Escape Plan is frighteningly real. The rules of logic or civilized behavior do not apply when someone is battering and abusing the people they should be caring for. It’s hard to decide the “rules of engagement” for this kind of domestic terrorisim. Someonetimes retreat is the most reasonable option, but retreat to a safe place.
Yesterday I watched friends deal with an ongoing domestic violence situation. They had helped a woman and her kids get to a safe place, and for that service, her husband was threatening to kill them. I was struck by the similarities between a pastor (shepherd) and a soldier….both on watch, facing risk while protecting their people from those who come to destroy. As a kid who grew up where violence and abuse of different kinds were commonplace, I was/am moved beyond words to see church leaders like my friends who will stand up, stand in the gap, and say, “No. Not on my watch, ” instead of taking the easy way out, blaming the victim, or pretending it will all “work out.”
While abuse degrades, humiliates and makes people unaware of the power and choices they have to affect the outcomes of their lives, care like this, empowers, instructs, encourages and shepherds people. Some of the most powerful words in English are “I have a choice.” Those being abused have a choice to get help (hard choice, but God given), abusers have a choice to stop (in that moment before they choose to hurt people they are supposed to love and care for, there is time to stop….it is always a choice)…..the only ones with no choice are the kids, if no one will stand against in the gap for them.
Pastor Deanza did a really good post on some of the statistics on domestic violence….and Dani Moss has a good site with an extensive amount of resources for those trying to find their way through these issues from a faith perspective.