I stopped swearing once, for a really long time. I thought it was the thing to do. You know, Christians are supposed to talk nice, and not use bad words with a lot of gusto and expression? But there are no nice ways to say the guy threatened to kill his girlfriend and then spent some time pounding her in the stomach and dragging her around the house with their toddler screaming while Mommy got beat again. There’s no nice words! There are also no nice words to describe the actions of a stepfather who took a heavy object to his 15 year old stepdaughter’s head and left her needing 20 staples and stitches. Some of what people do to each other is indescribable!
I suppose there are people who have never known a victim of domestic violence. To them, that’s just a news story, a statistic, or something that happens to some unknown little understood “other” out there somewhere. This week, I see the faces, the arms, the stomach bruises of the friends mentioned above. I give thanks that they are alive with minimal permanent physical damages. I give thanks for the community that is surrounding one of them and loving her and walking with her through this stage of her life, and look for opportunities to encourage the other one to look towards faith-that she is a child of God, imperfect but of infinite value,one who deserves way different than she has accepted from this #($&^! who broke his promises yet again.
The Unite To End Violence Against Women Campaign of the UN (click on the link) states that the most common form of violence against women is the one inflicted by an intimate partner–that women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, motor accidents, war and malaria, and that half of all women who die from homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or partners. It is so widespread, we ALL probably know victims, even if we don’t know it.
I loved hearing Pastor Eugene say in last week’s sermon that a woman who is being beat doesn’t have to stand there and take it. That SHOULD be a no brainer, but too often churches have blamed the victim (and guys can be victims too-my Dad was).
I know swearing doesn’t really help. But, I’m not sure what other kind of words to use expressing absolute frustration, outrage, and powerlessness to God on this one. Would rather stick to the important words–like “You don’t deserve this!” and “WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP!!!!!?”
(Too little, but better than nothing?: Childcare while Mom goes to counseling or court, help with paperwork, drop off a meal, help find a new apartment….listen, love, listen some more, speak truth, include her and the kids in your family, pray, provide bus passes) Ideas??
How to help?
National Domestic Violence Hotline (resources and contacts in all 50 states)
Because It Matters (resource site for those in the church experiencing domestic violence or other forms of abuse)