The general public perceives domestic or intimate partner violence as one person losing their temper and striking another. Do not be deceived. The demon we know as ‘domestic violence’ would like for you to believe just that, when the truth is, it is a matter of power and control. We all have tempers, to some extent, so why can some control their temper more easily? Because it is an issue of power and control, not temper tantrums. When the abuser begins to think or fear he may be losing power over his prized possession, the cycle of fear, intimidation, isolation and abuse is underway. It’s an ownership thing. There will be the “honeymoon” period immediately after an emotional, verbal or physical attack, with the promises of, “I swear I will never do it again. I love you. Don’t leave me.” Once domestic violence begins, unfortunately, almost without exception it will only escalate.
“I own you. You are mine. I will control you. Do not question my power.” Ridiculous as it may seem in this day and age, there is still a remnant of that mentality in our society that tells man his woman is his property, and she is there to do his bidding. If you do not believe it, come to a seminar on sexual assault or domestic violence with me. Read the statistics. One in three women will be victimized by some sort of domestic violence during her lifetime. Bear in mind less than 26% report the attacks. It would seem to me that would skew the “1 in 3” theory a bit. And, do not be deceived─spousal rape does exist!
It may start with being told what to wear, where you may or may not go, checking the odometer on your car. I was given a list at least once a week of the things I “better have done before I get home from work tonight,” or there would be hell to pay. Another sign that domestic violence is afoot comes in the nature of pet abuse. Many men have killed the family pet and reassured their wife they could very easily be next. What drives a woman to stay? Fear for her life . . . financial issues . . . need for a roof overhead . . . the children being displaced from their home . . . the list seems endless.
Look for the red flags. A boyfriend may grab his girlfriend by the arm while they are out on a date. You may hear the words, “If I can’t have you, nobody will.” The percentages are much higher that a young woman in college will be the victim of sexual assault and/or intimate partner violence.
Where are the programs in the colleges informing and educating their student bodies of these dangers?
Do not be so naïve as to believe the church is totally safe. One in three women inside the church, sitting on the pews each Sunday, is also a victim of domestic violence or abuse. The statistics do not change from those outside the sanctuary. Of the women who are killed as a result of domestic violence, 4% of them first reached out to an abuse shelter. 46% of them reached out to their pastor or church first, before being killed.
Why do I refer to women as the victims? Because 95% of all who are attacked are women victimized by domestic violence at the hands of a spouse, fiancé or boyfriend. So, next time you see a man grab and hit a woman, what will you do? Look the other way? Excuse it by dismissing it as a temper tantrum? Call 911?
- Multilanguage hotline opens for domestic violence victims (search.japantimes.co.jp)