Summary: This teaching is taken from my book “Beaten, Battered, Bruised & Blessed” (Christians Recognizing and Responding to Domestic Violence) more information can be found at www.c21c.org My prayer is it will help you in Pastoral ministry.
This teaching is taken from my book “Beaten, Battered, Bruised & Blessed” (Christians Recognizing and Responding to Domestic Violence) more information can be found at www.c21c.org My prayer is it will help you in Pastoral ministry.
Categories of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is sometimes referred to as “wife abuse,” “wife battering,” “wife beating” or “wife assault.” It must be borne in mind that domestic violence does not only take place in the marital home, many women in cohabiting relationships are victims of domestic violence and need to be shown the same degree of compassion and support the Church would demonstrate towards a couple who are married.
Domestic Violence is not a domestic argument or conflict. An argument can be a positive act within a relationship with productive outcomes for a couple. Rob Parsons in his book “Love against the Odds” suggests ten rules to how a couple can have a good argument.
When domestic conflict leads to an abuse of male physical power to dominate and control their partner it is domestic violence.
Domestic violence of course involves more than broken bones, the abuse of male power leaves many women with broken spirits. A victim can be broken in many different ways but a victim can only be broken in so many pieces before their whole life is shattered beyond repair. However, the hope of the Gospel compels Ministers and Church workers to confess that God can rebuild and restore the broken hearted. This spiritual dimension of the Church’s mission, coupled with the practical demonstration of the love of Jesus to the disadvantaged and vulnerable, puts the Church in pole position to reach out to victims of domestic violence.
The following categories of domestic violence in practice overlap:
PHYSICAL ABUSE The most common and visible form of domestic violence involve punches to the face and the body often leading to bruising, bleeding and broken bones.
Physical abuse takes many forms including hitting, punching, pulling hair, slapping, violently grabbing, biting, kicking, breaking bones, bruising, bending fingers back to the point of pain, burning, twisting arms, throwing victims against walls and furniture, throwing objects at the victim and using weapons. A considerable percentage of victims are threatened or assaulted with weapons such as knives, firearms and axes. For many, there is a real and constant threat of death because of the gravity of the abuse.
Often physical abuse can be of such a severe nature it results in broken bones, miscarriages and other serious injuries. Physical abuse at times results in murder. Physical injuries are not always obvious as abusers often make sure the signs of their attacks are hidden under clothing and many victims fearfully comply with their abusers threatening demands to cover up their bruises, bleeding and broken bones.
Physical abuse can also include damaging household goods and furniture in a threatening manner, taunting victims with the damage of sentimental objects, killing pets and denial of basic physical needs, like sleep and/or nutrition and freedom to relax.
Prov 1814 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness. But who can bear a broken spirit?
This form of abuse takes place when one partner intentionally abuses the psychological or emotional dynamics in a relationship, such as the need for love, recognition and acceptance, in order to manipulate and intimidate the other partner.
The abuser constantly undermines his victim, dictating and controlling her, virtually telling her what to think and how to think about herself and others. This abuse leads to a broken spirit robbing the victim of self-worth and self-confidence.
A perpetrator’s actions in emotional abuse include destroying household/personal property, deliberately hurting/injuring/killing domestic pets, deprivation of essential personal needs such as food, sleep, sanitary items etc and using words, comments and names to constantly devalue their victim. These actions are intended to terrorise the victim, stripping her of her self-assurance. For example, a perpetrator’s behaviour may lead his partner to believe she is insane, stupid or useless. The effect of emotional abuse is often a “snowballing” process, building up and occurring over a long period with destructive consequences for the victim’s sense of self.
Secret gestures can often result in victims being tormented, simple acts such as ‘hanging a belt on the back of the door’ ‘undoing a tie’ can all be interpreted by a victim that a beaten is on the way.
This form of abuse includes the perpetrator forcing his partner to have sadistic degrading sex, forcing her to undress against her wishes and raping her.
Sexual intercourse without permission is sexual assault. Sexual assault may or may not involve physical constraint. Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual contact. Many men still believe that they have the right to unlimited sexual access to their wives, believing their wife is their sexual property which they can use when they feel like it.