Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence’

If a person has been involved in more than one abusive relationship, healing can feel even more challenging. They will often say things like, “How do I keep getting into these situations?” or “What is it about me that attracts abusive partners?” These feelings of self-blame or guilt are normal, and if you’re experiencing them, you’re not alone. However, you definitely don’t deserve to feel this way. Because abuse is never the survivor’s fault and definitely not caused by the survivor. 

There are many people who have never experienced an abusive relationship that feel that those who have been in multiple abusive relationships should have seen the warning signs and should have known better. However, to say that someone chooses to enter into another abusive relationship is not necessarily an accurate description of what goes on in a survivor’s mind and emotions when navigating dating and intimate relationships. Placing the expectation on victims to always recognize red flags for potential abuse is not as easy for them as it is for us who are looking from the outside in.

Trust is an important part of any relationship, and it wouldn’t be healthy for a survivor to go into every new relationship expecting that their new partner may become abusive Especially when there aren’t yet any obvious behaviors that should concern them.

It can also be hard to identify warning signs at the beginning of a relationship because abusive partners are typically on their best behavior until a bond has been established, hiding their controlling and abusive tendencies. How many times have we heard a friend say, “He/she was so sweet in the beginning, and then they just changed overnight”? 

For survivors who experienced abuse in a previous relationship are subject not only to more confusion, but also to the effects of their self-esteem having been torn down by their previous abusive partner(s). And because their self-worth was taken away, they are more likely to believe that they are unlovable. They may believe that no healthy partner will ever want them. Those who have been abused in past relationships may even believe that they deserve what their abuser chooses to do to them. Nothing could be further from the truth! 

Unfortunately, some abusers recognize this, and may seek out to form new relationships with survivors of past abuse to more easily manipulate them. Once they bond to their victim, they will isolate them from friends and relatives, control their phone, emails, and finances so that eventually they have to rely totally on their abuser. (This type of abuse happens more often to women than to men)

If you’ve had negative feelings like these about yourself, you have to understand that feelings lie and emotions are unreliable. Nothing a partner or anyone else chooses to do is ever reflective of your worth or your value as a human being. And you are not responsible for someone else’s decision to control, hurt or manipulate you. 

Society misses the mark when it comes to normal, healthy relationships. Some of us are lead to believe that unhealthy relationships and behaviors are normal—or even romantic. (Especially with young people with no experience in relationships) Constant declarations of love and grand gestures of affection early in the relationship is seen as sweet rather than too much too soon and a possible violation of boundaries. Jealousy may be seen as caring or protective when it can actually lead to controlling behavior. Characteristics such as persistence in the face of rejection may be thought of as cute, but this can also be warning sign of a form of control.

It can be hard to reconcile what we think we should be excited about in a new partner with what may actually be triggering concerns about abuse. When things like open, honest communication, healthy boundaries, equality and trust are not taught as the norm, we can’t expect survivors to identify them as such—especially if they have never been in a heathy relationship where these things existed.

There are some who have been abused for so long that it’s difficult for them to differentiate between a healthy and abusive relationship. Below are a few behaviors that you can look out for: 

  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Isolating you from friends and family 
  • Controlling money and refusing to give you any for expenses 
  • Preventing you from working or attending school 
  • Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening 
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets 
  • Threatening to harm or take away your children 
  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons 
  • Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you 
  • Threatening to commit suicide if you leave 
  • Attempting to stop you from pressing charges 
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to 
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

There are some who believe that thoughts of low self-esteem and low self-worth are the result of a person’s upbringing. That is true to a point. But outside influences, (school bullying, social media, peer pressure) also play a big part on how a child thinks of themselves. 

1 Timothy 3 in the Bible tells women positive attributes to look for in a man:

He must be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not dependent on wine, not violent but gentle, peaceable, and free of the love of money. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same condemnation as the devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the snare of the devil. Additionally, the Bibles says that they must first be tested. These qualities refer to a leader in the church, but they can also apply to someone you are considering being in a relationship with. 

Therapy and aftercare support go a long way in restoring a person’s self-worth. Many treatment programs discourage people from pursuing romantic or sexual relationships for at least one year. Yes, it may be lonely at times, but with therapy and support you can find many other things to fill up your days. And in the end you will be stronger, healthier, and ready for a heathy relationship.   

If you’re concerned about some of these things happening in your relationship, please feel free to give contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7/365 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat at www.thehotline.org.

This is not the end of your story. You can still be a warrior!

Post Script:

Children are also affected by domestic violence and abuse. It has been proven that children who witness domestic abuse suffer the same trauma as if they were abused themselves. And sometimes will defend the victim of abuse (a parent) as well as their abuser.

That is what has happened in my own family:

In 2013 my wife and I discovered that our oldest granddaughter Seana, was sexually abused by her then step-father, Case Cline, when she was only 11 years old. My wife and I were able to be granted guardianship of her and get her into therapy. We spent most of our retirement savings on attorney fees and therapy for her. My granddaughter is now 20 years old but is still struggling mentally and emotionally. My daughter, Leah Cline, blames us for her ex-husband’s legal problems and her divorce and has not spoken to us or allowed us to see her other three children for almost four years. The only contact we have with her children is through Facebook.

Since then she has had one live-in boyfriend that was on the sex offender registry for having sex with a child. He was later he suffered a tragic brain injury when he crashed his scooter into another car while he was drunk. She is now living with an even more abusive man, Mathew Kochen. 

On April 11, 2019 Mathew Kochen was charged with kidnapping and domestic abuse and using a weapon against another woman. The police said that he told the woman he was going to “bury her in Crescent” (Iowa) after refusing to let her out of his car. Fortunately, she was able to escape. The police discovered later that he was waiting inside the woman’s house, but when he saw the police he ran out the back and was watching them from the nearby woods. That’s where the police arrested him. Then on May 30th, 2019 a Sheriff’s Deputy in Council Bluffs, Iowa was dispatched to the same house and arrested Mathew again for violation of a No Contact Order, and Contempt of Court. He was held in the Pottawattamie County Jail and later released on a $25,000.00 bond. This all happened while my daughter was living with him with her three children! Click HERE: https://dcs-inmatesearch.ne.gov/Corrections/InmateDisplayServlet?DcsId=74185

Mathew also talked my daughter into using drugs. We convinced her to get into treatment, but after only a week, Matthew talked her into leaving treatment. He recently began making lewd comments toward my 13 year old granddaughter, Rebecca Cline, and has admitted to being sexually aroused by her. And my daughter blamed Rebecca because she was wearing shorts! Mathew has been emotionally and physically abusive to the kids too—With my daughter’s approval! 

After seeing Rebecca’s photo she posted on Facebook, I reported it to the Plattsmouth police, where they live now, but they refused to do anything and said that there was nothing they could do unless Rebecca files a report herself. Mathew has isolated Leah her from friends and family. He has made Leah take down her Facebook page because he believed that she was communicating with other guys. He also took Leah’s phone away from her and then pretended to be Leah and texted all of her male contacts asking them if they wanted to have sex! Many of them contacted my granddaughter Seana and asked her what was going on. It’s like Casey Cline all over again—only worse! Because  my daughter has succeeded in turning her three children who lives with her against us by filling their heads with lies about us. All we have ever tried to do to help them and protect them from abuse. But I would do it all over again in order to save one of them from abuse. 

R. Kelly’s Girlfriends Defend Him

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/r-kelly-girlfriends-sexual-abuse-gayle-king-interview_n_5c811198e4b0e62f69ea48b8

After watching Gayle King’s interview with R. Kelly’s live in girlfriends, memories of my own daughter defending her abuser came flooding back to my mind. She spend much of the time her abuser was on trial blaming me for his legal problems. She has not spoken to me for nearly two years now.

There are many reasons why victims stay in an abusive relationship and even defend their abuser. Statistics show that victims of violent abuse endure an average of up to seven attacks. The dominant reason is dependency: Control by the abuser, shame about the abuse, and the dysfunctional nature of the relationship lowers the victim’s self-esteem and confidence and often causes the victim to withdraw from friends and family, creating even more fear and dependency on the abuser. The abuse itself is experienced as an emotional rejection with the threat of being abandoned. The abuse eventually becomes their new normal, and anyone who tries to intervene on behalf of the victim soon becomes the enemy.

Help for victims of abuse:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/toxic-relationships/201706/the-truth-about-abusers-abuse-and-what-do

 

Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence every year.

Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.

The prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. But experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.

Now if you think that these type of crimes are reserved only for non-Christians, think again! Studies reveal that domestic violence and child sexual abuse is just as common within the evangelical churches as anywhere else. This means that about 25 % of Christian homes witness abuse of some kind!

Because these numbers are so shocking, you may be wondering if the studies were done by secular researchers hostile to the church. Sadly, they were not.

Denise George, a gifted writer and the wife of theologian Timothy George, has published a new book called What Women Wish Pastors Knew. “Spouse abuse shocks us,” George writes. “We just cannot believe that a church deacon or member goes home after worship . . . and beats his wife.” Tragically, however, George notes, some of these men justify their violence “by citing biblical passages.”

Well, obviously they’re misinterpreting Scripture to justify their actions. In Ephesians 5:22, husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Beating your wife black-and-blue hardly constitutes Christian love! 1 Peter 3:1-7 tells husbands to live with their wives considerately. And the Bible makes it clear that the Church has no business closing its eyes to violent men. In 1 Timothy 3:3, the church is told that when it comes to choosing leaders, they must find men who are “not violent but gentle,” sober, and temperate.

The amount of domestic abuse in Christian homes is horrifying, and the Church ought to be doing something about it! But sometimes pastors, albeit with good intentions, do more harm than good.

George sites a survey in which nearly 6,000 pastors were asked how they would counsel women who came to them for help with domestic violence. 26% said they would counsel them to continue to “submit” to her husband, no matter what. 25% told wives that the abuse was their own fault for failing to submit in the first place. Astonishingly, nearly half of the pastors surveyed said women should be willing to tolerate some level of violence because it is better than divorce! Do they not understand that advice like this often puts women in grave danger—and in some cases, can be a death warrant? Pastors need to acknowledge that domestic abuse in the Church is a problem, and learn how to counsel women wisely.

Equally as tragic is that child sexual abuse continues to destroy the bodies and souls of untold numbers of children around the country. In her book, “Predators, Pedophiles, Rapists, and other Sex Offenders”, clinical psychologist Anna Salter revealed that her own interviews of sexual offenders found them admitting to having perpetrated between 10 and 1250 victims! She also writes that every offender she interviewed had been previously reported by children, and the reports were ignored.

It is critical to note that this abuse is no less prevalent within the faith community. In fact, there are studies that demonstrate that the faith community is even more vulnerable to abuse than secular environments. The Abel and Harlow study revealed that 93% of sex offenders describe themselves as “religious” and that this category of offender may be the most dangerous. Other studies have found that sexual abusers within faith communities have more victims–and younger victims. This disturbing truth is perhaps best illustrated by the words of a convicted child molester who told Dr. Salter: “I considered church people easy to fool…they have a trust that comes from being Christians. They tend to be better folks all around and seem to want to believe in the good that exists in people.”

Approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been sexually abuse as children. This means that a church of 200 members will have at least 41 child sexual abuse survivors, or over 20% of the congregation! Yet, sexual abuse is still too seldom talked about inside our churches. How would your church respond if: 20% of the congregation had cancer; or 20% of the congregation had lost a child; or 20% of the congregation had been fired from employment?
I would predict that any of these issues would become a primary focus of the church’s ministry. Pastors would preach sermons addressing the spiritual issues associated with this trauma and church members would reach out in love and service to those experiencing such deep hurt.
Then why does the Church refuse to respond to child sexual abuse in silence? As part of the body of Christ, we must learn to approach the horror of child sexual abuse no differently.
Perhaps these statistics can help drive our churches to become places of refuge and healing for abuse survivors who are silently suffering in our midst:

• 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.
• Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident.
• During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.
• Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.
• Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

 

 

Are you in an abusive relationship? Below are warning signs of an abusive personality:

• Jealousy: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; afraid that if you go anywhere by yourself “you might meet someone.”

• Controlling: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were; controls all the money; insists you ask permission to do anything.

• Isolation: Tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses people who support you of causing trouble. Puts down everyone you know- friends are either stupid, or slutty.

• Blames others for problems or mistakes: It’s always someone else’s fault when anything goes wrong.

• Makes others responsible for his feelings: The abuser says things like, “Why do you always do things that make me angry?”

• Hypersensitivity: Is easily insulted, uses hurt feelings to justify abusive behavior.

• Cruelty to animals and children: Kills or brutally punishes animals. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for unintentional accidents) or may tease them until they cry.

• Verbal abuse: Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things. Degrades, curses, and calls you ugly names.

• Sudden mood swings: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.

• Often makes threats: Says things like, “I’ll break your neck,” or “I’ll kill you,” and then dismisses them with, “Don’t take things so literal!”

• Breaking or striking objects during an argument: Slams fist on tables, punches walls, throws objects across a room, pushes, shoves, or physically restrains you from leaving room.

If you are in an abusive relationship with someone, get away! Call someone to help you–A friend, a women’s shelter or the police. It may just save your life and the lives of your children.

Because it rarely stops….

 

 

Resources to help:

https://www.whengeorgiasmiled.org/

http://www.thehotline.org/resources/resources/

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Mathew 18:6 – 10)

Imagine yourself as a single woman with a child to raise on your own. With a young child to look after you’d have to be crazy to hook up with an abuser, right? But many would be surprised by just how many smart women get fooled by these types of men and place themselves and their children in great danger. Below are warning signs of an abusive personality.

Jealousy:
Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone.”
Controlling:
Interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to do anything.
Isolation:
Tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses people who support you of causing trouble. Puts down everyone you know- friends are either stupid, or slutty.
Blames others for problems or mistakes:
It’s always someone else’s fault when anything goes wrong.
Makes others responsible for his feelings:
The abuser says things like, “Why do you always do things that make me angry?”
Hypersensitivity:
Is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he is really mad.
Cruelty to animals and children:
Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also, may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for unintentional accidents) or may tease them until they cry.
Verbal abuse:
Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things, degrades, curses, and calls you ugly names.
Sudden mood swings:
Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.
Often makes threats:
Says things like, “I’ll break your neck,” or “I’ll kill you,” and then dismisses them with, “Don’t take things so literal!”
Breaking or striking objects during an argument:
Slams fist on tables, punches walls, throws objects across a room, pushes, shoves, or physically restrains you from leaving room.

Where Are The Rights of Sexually Abused Children?

The most vulnerable people caught in this relationship are young children. And unfortunately, most children are left without any legal recourse for protection from an abusive parent or step-parent.

Ask nearly anyone and they’ll say that they would speak up if they thought a child was being abused–either physically or sexually. Almost no one believes they would allow this harmful behavior to continue if they knew for sure that it was going on.

And yet, the sad truth is that millions of children suffer physical, emotional or sexual abuse every day. (Many by the hands of a family member or step-parent) Many of these victims believe, correctly, that someone else knows, or should know, about their situation, but does little or nothing to protect them. Some tell adults what’s going on, seeking protection and help, only to be met with disbelief, denial, blame, or even punishment. How can that be?

When you’re the one who has been hurt in this way it’s hard to imagine that there can be any good reason for failing to protect a vulnerable child. The child may even feel doubly betrayed by someone’s failure to help if that person is close to them, such as a parent or relative. The child will think, “I was in danger; someone could have protected me but chose not to!” And no excuse or rationalization for their failure will seem acceptable.

Also, some victims of abuse will actually feel more anger toward a non-abusive adult who didn’t speak up than toward the person who actually hurt them. They may have expected the worst of the abuser, who was clearly deeply disturbed or had little or no concern for them, but they expected better from someone who claimed to be caring and worthy of their trust. This anger at the person who failed to protect them may be especially strong while unwanted or abusive sexual experiences are happening. And those feelings can last for decades.

A study released May 10, 2012, co-authored by First Star, a nonprofit advocacy group for neglected and abused children, and the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego Law School, has concluded that states across the nation were inadequately representing the legal rights of abused and neglected children in dependency hearings.

The study, entitled ‘A Child’s Right to Counsel: A National Report Card on Legal Representation for Abused & Neglected Children Third Edition’ has given each state a grade based on a 100 point scale that evaluated six criteria in the states’ legislation. States that received the poorest grades do not have any laws on the books mandating that lawyers be appointed to represent children in court. Even in states where lawyers are appointed, legislation does not require lawyers to be trained in domestic violence issues or to treat the child in the same way they would another client. Instead lawyers are often allowed (or even encouraged) to act in what they perceive to be the child’s best interest, without taking into account the child’s wishes.

How did your state do?
“In the U.S. the right to counsel is guaranteed to everyone accused of breaking the law – including parents and other caregivers accused of child abuse and neglect,” said Elissa T. Garr, Executive Director of First Star. “Yet the abused and neglected children in these cases, who are the least able to advocate for themselves, are not guaranteed counsel. It is tragic that in many states across the country, when judicial decisions are being made that will impact every facet of these children’s lives, the right to counsel is not guaranteed to the victims of that abuse and neglect.”

The report graded each state and the District of Columbia based on how well they protect the legal rights of abused and neglected children in dependency court. Shamefully, twenty-five states earned C’s or lower:

• 3 states earned A+’s: Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oklahoma;
• 12 states earned A’s: Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia;
• 11 states earned B’s: Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming
• 9 states earned C’s: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin
• 6 states earned D’s: Alaska, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, and South Carolina
• 10 states earned F’s: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Washington

In closing, I would like to challenge you to do what we’ve told our children to do for years: “If you see someone doing something wrong; tell someone!” James 4:17 goes even further when it says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

Remember what Jesus said: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

If you suspect that a child is being abused contact the Children’s Advocacy Institute:

University of San Diego School of Law
5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110
Telephone: 619.260.4806
Fax: 619.260.4753

Sacramento Office
800 J Street, Suite 504
Sacramento, CA 95814
Telephone: 916.844.5646

Washington, DC Office
1000 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
Telephone: 917.371.5191

Many people refuse to tell someone about their suspicions of child abuse because they’re afraid of inadvertently making a false accusation. But when it comes to protecting a child I would much rather err on the side of a child than on the side of an adult.

A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) revealed that “cool” kids in middle school had a tendency to participate in bullying more than others. Bullying defined as “either starting fights or pushing other kids around or spreading nasty rumors about other kids”, the UCLA psychology study found that bullying could help improve an individual’s social status and popularity among middle school students. In addition, students who were already considered popular utilized these forms of bullying. The study’s lead author Jaana Juvonen, a professor of psychology at UCLA, discovered that, “The ones who bully more are seen as cool.”

In the project, the researchers observed 1,895 ethnically diverse students from 11 Los Angeles middle schools. The students were dispersed across 99 different classes, with investigators conducting surveys at the start of the seventh grade, the fall of eighth grade, and the spring of eighth grade. During each of the three surveys, the students filled out questionnaires asking them to name the students who were thought to be the “coolest”.  Students who were considered “coolest” at some time during the study were also found to be the most aggressive, and individuals who were named the most aggressive had a higher likelihood of being considered the coolest. So it seems that the simple message of “Bullying is not tolerated” is not likely to be very effective.

Are some students naturally aggressive ?

I do not believe that children are naturally aggressive or ‘born to bully’. Human beings are not ruled by instincts like animals. Aggressive impulses come mainly from responses learned during upbringing. Parents that express anger through physical aggression will likely produce children who tend to express anger the same way. Children from homes where there is domestic violence tend to over or under-estimate violence, which often affects their relationships with others and later with their own children. Unfortunately, adults often unknowingly set a bad example to their children.

What can the Church do?

The United States is one of the most religious nations in the developed world yet it has the highest murder rate. When the greatest amount of violence is found in a country that was founded on biblical principles, it is no wonder that the unbelieving world is asking, “What kind of influence is Christianity having?”

I know that violence will continue to be a problem until Jesus returns and sets all things right. And although we can’t eliminate violence in this age, God has called us to influence the world as “salt” and “light”. (Matthew 5:13-16) But if we lose our saltiness; our Christianity isn’t good for anything. And if we hide our light; the world will remain in darkness. The time is now for the Church to repent from our wickedness and pray for God to send revival!

The great modern revivalist Leonard Ravenhill in his book, ‘Today’s Sleeping Giant’ wrote:

Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. “There,” he growled, “is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.” That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.

Today Lucifer is probably surveying the Church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, “Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.” Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today?

I pray that she will wake before it’s too late.