Domestic Violence (Content Warning)

This is a sensitive subject. Domestic violence is a scourge of society, arguably responsible for a lot of the violence directed towards women. Yes, domestic violence affects men too, but it affects women more; on average, 30 men are killed due to domestic violence each year in the UK – 102 women lose their lives to it. That’s a big difference. Women are far more likely to experience repeated incidents of domestic violence in the UK – 89% of people who experience four or more incidents of domestic violence are women.

In the USA, women are more likely to be the victims of domestic violence incidents than men. In some areas they are a lot more likely to face violence and abuse. Why is it then, that TEWSNBN is seemingly more concerned with strange notion of fairness on this topic?

One in four women has been the victim of spousal abuse, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline… This means that on any given Sunday in a congregation of 100 people, it is likely there are 25 women who have been or are currently experiencing some form of intimate partner abuse, and in many cases are worshiping next to their abuser.

To be both fair and honest, women are not the only ones who are abused and those abused people, men, and children, also sit in church next to their abusers. If we are going to deal with the topic, we must include everyone who faces some sort of domestic violence.

Yes, women may be the larger of the three groups but it is hard to say as men do not report the abuse done unto them. Then we must be cautious as to how the definition of the terms ‘abuse, domestic violence, abuser’ are applied. far too many people paint with a very broad brush and claim abuse when none occurred.

It’s true that men don’t always report abuse. Then again, women don’t always report it either. It’s true that all instances of domestic violence should be treated the same, but all too often this argument is used to cloud the facts, namely that women are a lot more likely to be victims of domestic abuse, and a lot more likely to be killed as a result. Also, abuse is not merely physical – manipulative types will gaslight their victims, emotionally torment them, and psychologically hurt them. This is difficult to prove and it’s hard for victims of this type of abuse to get it dealt with.

Married to a veteran suffering from PTSD, Beth and her two young daughters lived in a home where guns and knives were pointed at them regularly and new holes in the walls were not uncommon.

Is that really abuse or is it the result of a disease that the US medical military and worldwide counterparts can find no cure for? Calling it abuse covers up the real source of the problem and makes the women ‘victims’ when in reality, the real victim is the man suffering from the disease.

The medical profession has certainly let him and many other veterans down by being incapable or unwilling to find the right cure.

Yes it’s abuse. The reasons are unfortunate but it’s obvious that the wife and daughters are victims of a terrifying situation, and they should be treated as such, instead of having their plight marginalised. If one of them were killed, what then? Obviously the veteran should receive help but his wife and kids don’t deserve to live in fear.

Because her husband’s military service was held in high esteem, she was coached by fellow Christians to hold him responsible for his actions but not to resort to divorce.

We are going to get this out of the way right now. There is only one reason for divorce. The unbelieving world has created a myriad of reasons but in reality and truth, there is only one- adultery.

Since God and Jesus get to make the rules, there are no substitutes. While the unbelieving world feels that they are more compassionate and more moral than God, they keep coming up with new ways to break up a solid family.

Sadly, the church has followed the unbelieving world and added far more reasons than the one Jesus gave. Many years ago we were in an online discussion with a woman on this very topic. We stated our position, as above, and she came back with, ‘My pastor said abandonment’ is grounds for divorce.

We came back with a solid no and restated adultery and her response was always the same – ‘and abandonment. her pastor was wrong and so are all those people who add abuse or domestic violence to the list.

Domestic violence is a sin but it is not a reason for divorce. In fact, encouraging people to divorce an abusive partner does not make the situation any better. Many women are killed after they have moved out and divorced their husbands.

Those deaths came at the hands of their ex-husbands. Then some men suffer the same fate. No gender is free from the sin of domestic violence or murder.

God and Jesus have no sway over what non-believers get to do. I would argue that divorce is perfectly acceptable if one partner is violently assaulting the other. On the vast majority of occasions, despite all the pleas and claims, the abuser does not change their behaviour. It is far less compassionate to expect someone to remain married to their partner in such circumstances. Whilst it’s true that some women are killed by their former partners, the majority escape dangerous and damaging situations. What kind of merciful deity would expect people to be forced to endure on-going domestic terror for the sake of a piece of paper?

And what do we do with Amy’s story? Barely 5 months into the marriage, her new husband (the son of a minister) began asserting his “biblical authority” over her, demanding she not attend prayer meetings unless he was invited, too. His emotional, verbal, and physical fits of rage escalated to the point where she feared for her life.

It is not good to take a lot of examples from newspaper articles as all we are getting is one side of the story. One side is not the truth. For the church to do something, the truth must come out. The purpose behind finding the truth is to find a just punishment, or strategy that will solve the problem.

Not to find revenge or hurt someone. Those two attitudes are sin as well and do not belong in Christ’s church. No matter what action the church takes, it will always be in the wrong. One side will feel betrayed or ganged up on no matter the solution.

This is a roundabout way of saying ‘don’t believe the victim’, which is a huge part of the problem when dealing with domestic violence. Abusers are very good at appearing good and pleasant to the outside world. We often hear of surprise when the situation reaches the tragic point of loss of life.

There are three key passages that need to be written here and we will do it in short form as you already know them. The first is ‘do unto others as you want to be treated.

The second is ‘return good for evil and the third is to pray for your enemies. In the case of domestic violence one’s spouse, or parents can be their enemy. The key to applying these verses is that there are not one set of verses to follow for one sin and another set to follow for another sin.

All the verses apply to all sins and situations. There are no escape clauses saying that domestic violence is an exception to the rule. God does not have exceptions to the rule. He expects his followers to obey him all the time.

This is not an easy thing to do when living with abusive family members. But it must be done and God will provide the strength and wisdom to handle these situations if you ask.

‘Do unto others’. Indeed. Does this mean the victims of abuse are justified when they finally snap after years of being attacked and take drastic action? ‘Return good for evil’. If I ever attacked my wife, would it be reasonable of me to expect her to smile meekly and accept it? ‘Pray for your enemies’. I’d sooner avoid my enemies if possible, or confront their ignorance, as long as it is safe for me to do so. Of course, if I could take tangible action to convince them to change their ways, I’d consider that a stronger course of action than prayer.

‘It’s not easy to live with abusive family members’. No shit Sherlock. If there is a means of escape or help for the victims it should be made as easy as possible for them to access. If that includes divorce, so be it. Given how many people (the majority of which are women) die at the hands of their abusers, toughing it out shouldn’t be an option, and it certainly shouldn’t be forced upon them.

Does this mean we are condemning people to abusive relationships? No. We are telling them not to sin in response to the sins committed against them. Sinning in response does not solve the problem either.

Um, by telling people they can’t divorce their abuser, TEWSNBN is condemning people to abusive relationships.

EDIT 07/10/21 – TEWSNBN left a comment, stating:

‘I am not going to say anything as you are nothing but a distorter and have no answers for anyone’.

Well, firstly he clearly said something, and secondly he gave his usual evasive non-answer as a response.

Edit 6/2/24: I received an email relating to this post, asking me to link to a site about domestic violence. That link is an international resource for anyone suffering from domestic abuse, and hopefully its presence here will help someone.

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