Domestic Violence Is Evil And Hurts Gods Heart

by Yvonne Chase on October 4, 2021

In my last post, Agape Love Does Not Stay In Abuse, I talked about the church’s response to domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the CDC:

  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
  • On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
  • Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
  • Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
  • About 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • For black men and women, the numbers are disproportionately higher due to systemic racism. 45.1% of Black women and 40.1% of Black men have experienced intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.
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So, what is IPV? Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), often known as domestic violence, is any pattern of behavior intended to maintain power and control over an intimate partner in a relationship. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological. Threatening to cause harm of any kind is IPV and it includes any behavior that intimidates, terrorizes, manipulates, hurts, humiliates, blames, injures, or wounds someone.

IPV Typologies Include:

Intimate Terrorism (IT)
  • Battering
  • One directional
  • Mostly male perpetrated
  • Goal: to gain power and control over a partner
Violence Resistance (VR)
  • Victim uses nonviolent and violent acts to retaliate against partner’s control
  • Goal: regain control. Mostly women find themselves in IT
Mutual Violence Control (MVC)
  • Both partners commit IT
  • Each exerting control and wrestling for control of the relationship
Situational Couple Violence (SCV)
  • Intermittent pattern of minor violence during conflicts
  • Asymmetrical/symmetrical
  • Men and women
  • Usually not fearful
  • Goal: to gain control of a specific situation

The most severe form of IPV is Intimate Terrorism. The most common form of IPV is Psychological/emotional IPV because it is highly debilitating and has long-lasting effects like chronic illness, depression, and increased anxiety levels. Combined with partner control, it is a significant predictor for negative mood and psychosomatic complaints. Homicide is the least likely outcome of SCV; however, it is the most feared outcome by victims of IT and much more likely to happen in IT than in SCV. Women are most likely the victims and males the offender. Unfortunately, we saw this in the case of Gabriel Petito. As with most abusive relationships, the public image (Instagram photos that show a happy couple) does not match the private reality.

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In an interview with People magazine, Gabby’s father said her story has given others the courage to leave toxic relationships; “So many stories are sent to us about relationships being left with proper planning for safety, and people are being found due to her influence. We have much more work to do, but it’s a start.” Although Gabby’s story is not connected to the church, it is a cautionary tale for pastors and leaders to get the proper training to provide wise counsel. They need to know that the most dangerous time for the abused is when they decide to leave; therefore, safety planning needs to be in place.

I believe Gabby wanted to leave that relationship but like many victims, she was afraid. Even when the police pulled the van over and asked her about the physical scars and offered her a way out, she blamed herself by saying she slapped Brian first. Abuse victims often blame themselves because they are gaslit into believing it’s their fault. I hate everything about this story because Gabby didn’t have to die. More could’ve been done during the traffic stop to prevent it. I hope they find Brian Laundrie soon and hold him accountable for her murder.

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When it comes to marriage, leaving doesn’t always mean divorce. It didn’t for Donna, who says:

Yvonne, standing with you on this, I was in an abusive marriage, and praise God my pastor counseled me to "leave." He did not recommend I immediately pursue divorce but to remove myself from harm and get to a safe place. He said it was NOT love to stay in that situation. He counseled us individually and eventually together. God did work in the situation, healing my husband and subsequently our marriage. We will celebrate 34 years of marriage this December, which would never have happened apart from my pastor's counsel. I realize not all abuse stories have a happy ending (My daughters' is one example), But no woman should stay in an abusive relationship; that is not love. I remember my pastor said marriage is to be an illustration of Christ and His bride the church; an abusive marriage mars that image, and apart from God's healing, it should not continue.

At the website abusecare.org, run by Charlene Quint, J.D. Certified Domestic Violence Professional, and the author of Overcoming the Narcissist, Sociopath, Psychopath, and Other Domestic Abusers, Charlene says, “Women of faith stay in abusive marriages and relationships significantly longer than other women. Many women of faith mistakenly believe, or have received misguided advice, that the Scriptures command them to stay in abusive marriages.” Charlene believes the church must call domestic abuse what it is: evil and it must support victims of abuse, hold abusers accountable, and have nothing to do with those who abuse. Amen!

In closing, abuse is about power and control, the opposite of God’s plans for husbands, wives, and families. If the church doesn’t change its counsel to women and people in abusive relationships, what happened to Gabby Petito could very well become the norm. The church must have zero tolerance for abuse and they must understand the cunning and calculated behavior of abusers like Brian who are cooperative and polite in public but monsters in private.

Something to think about…

What say you? How can the church do better in it’s response to domestic violence? 

Here are 2 things I’d like you to do now:

1. Leave a comment below

2. Share this post if you like it

If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence please reach out. It could save a life. For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

References

Barnett, O., Miller-Perrin, C.L., & Perrin, R.D. (2005). Family Violence Across the Lifespan: An introduction. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Hines, D.A., & Malley-Morrison, K. (2005). Family violence in the United States: Defining, understanding, and combating abuse. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele Morin October 4, 2021

I applied the voices who speak truth into the ears of people in this sad situation. As someone who grew up in a home characterized by violence, I hope your words will empower women to action.

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Yvonne Chase October 11, 2021

@Michele,

Since writing this post and the last, I’ve heard from so many Christian women who grew up in homes characterized by violence and who found themselves in abusive marriages and did not leave because of poor counsel provided by the Christian church. I sincerely hope my words empower those stuck in abuse to action.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Domestic Violence Is Evil And Hurts Gods HeartMy Profile

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Linda Stoll October 5, 2021

Yvonne, you’ve given us a wealth of information here … too often Christian women have had their heads in the sand pretending this isn’t all very true and real.

Thankfully we’re coming out of that hole and offering direction and hope and safety. I’m sharing your resources with others, friend.
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Yvonne Chase October 11, 2021

@Linda,

Yes, it’s time we get our heads out of the sand and call a thing a thing! Unfortunately, domestic violence is the reality of too many women and some men.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Domestic Violence Is Evil And Hurts Gods HeartMy Profile

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Lisa notes October 5, 2021

All your great data here points to the fact that leaving is sometimes the bravest and smartest and most godly thing to do. I love the quote by Hermann Hesse. Powerful information here, Yvonne!

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Yvonne Chase October 11, 2021

@Lisa,

Leaving is absolutely the godly thing to do even if the church says otherwise.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Domestic Violence Is Evil And Hurts Gods HeartMy Profile

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Bev Rihtarchik October 6, 2021

Yvonne,
The statistics are so sad and so scary. Thank you Yvonne for continuing to speak out about domestic violence and abuse. I know from experience, after years in an abusive marriage, you begin to believe the lies you hear. God does not want His daughters being dormats or punching bags. Thanks for encouraging them to get out before it’s too late.
Blessings,
Bev xx
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Yvonne Chase October 11, 2021

@Bev,

I’m glad you got out. It’s the only way. And yes, God does not want his daughters being punching bags!
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Domestic Violence Is Evil And Hurts Gods HeartMy Profile

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Jeanne Takenaka October 7, 2021

Yvonne, thank you for the data you shared here and for your wise counsel. I hear your passion for women/for the abused throughout your post. Leaving is often the bravest thing a person who’s abused can do. Thank you for being a voice to those who need to hear this truth.

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Yvonne Chase October 17, 2021

@Jeanne,

I never thought my voice would be a part of this demographic but here we are. My passion for women standing up for themselves and saying NO to abuse of any kind is strong. It is only the truth that will set us free. I plan to tell it until the day I die.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Agape Love Does Not Stay In AbuseMy Profile

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Barbara Harper October 10, 2021

This is such an important message. This has gone on too much and too long. Two of my sisters have been in abusive relationships. They’re out now and okay, but I wish we had known sooner.
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Yvonne Chase October 17, 2021

My God Barbara. I’m glad your sisters are out and okay. And you’re right, it’s gone on for too long and continues today because of poor teaching and counsel from a church that is not equipped in any way to handle the magnitude of abuse.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Agape Love Does Not Stay In AbuseMy Profile

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Barb Hegreberg October 12, 2021

Well done! GREAT POST

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Paula Short October 12, 2021

Yvonne, thank you for sharing this message today. Among the Countless things that need to be taught about this lifesaving one is great importance.

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Jerralea October 14, 2021

I agree leaving an abusive marriage is the best for everyone. Often the children are scarred by seeing the abuse, which ends up perpetuating the cycle because of learned behaviors. I was surprised it often took 7 times to actually leave!
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Yvonne Chase October 17, 2021

@Jerralea,

Agree and I don’t know why pastors aren’t counseling women to pack their bags and leave! As I said in the post, leaving doesn’t always mean divorce, however, with proper safety planning, it means safety. That’s what matters above all else, the safety of the victim.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Agape Love Does Not Stay In AbuseMy Profile

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