It is quickly apparent from recent search terms leading to my blog there are countless victims of domestic violence who are wrestling with their spirituality as it relates to the abuse they are enduring. Stay or leave? Guilty or not? Being punished by God? What about the children? The words “guilt” and “punish” are used a lot. So, how do I even begin to express to these victims they are not being punished, and have no reason to feel guilty? For those who are Christian, let me remind you of the scripture that reassures us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If you accept the Old Testament, please read Malachi, where husbands are admonished by God to not deal treacherously with their wives. God hates the divorce that results from domestic violence, but he also hates the abusive behavior that brings on the divorce. Consider that concept when you read this scripture.
I personally reached a point of getting in God’s face and insisting he give me an answer to my question: “Which do you hate more—divorce or domestic violence?” I went on to ask him if he preferred me gone or dead. Well, I’m still here, so hopefully that answers any questions as to the truth I found for myself.
If I can reassure victims of spousal abuse or domestic violence of anything, it is this: Your value is not based upon anything your batterer or abuser says or does to you. According to the great King David, author of the Psalms and a mighty leader of old Israel, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God does not do shoddy work, now does he? We may muck it up a bit, but he allows u-turns and second (and sometimes third and fourth) chances.
If you are both seeing a counselor and you are uncomfortable being there with your abuser, you are in a place of possible revictimization. If you cannot speak out, then write a letter to your counselor, advise them you prefer separate sessions, and maybe mention you’d like it to be “their recommendation,” not yours. Their primary goal should be to keep you safe. Always remember that.
STOP! Right now where are you in life? LISTEN? You can hear God speaking to you personally. LOOK around you. Is this the life he expects you to live the rest of your days? As always, here are the two pieces of wisdom I share with each and every victim or struggling survivor who asks me what I think they should do:
Second—If you are currently in an abusive relationship, put distance between you and the perpetrator. Even if you (or both of you) are in counseling, I still suggest this distance, if at all possible. Give it a cooling off period, and a time for you to gather your thoughts. Truly go deep within to figure out what you want to do with your life, how you want it to be. God wants you to have life more abundant. Remember—you deserve to be safe, secure and happy—period.
Carolyn is an advocate for sexual/domestic violence and assault awareness, also focusing on child sexual abuse. She is a Life Direction & Empowerment Coach, working with victims and survivors of molestation, sexual assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse, and bringing training to organizations seeking to help victims. Listen to Carolyn’s interview with Cynthia Brennen, on “Help, Hope & Healing.” Visit her website: orangeblossomwishes.com.
- Society’s View on Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (cshennecy.wordpress.com)