In my previous article in this series, I stated that it’s self-destructive behavior to allow your feelings of abandonment to lead you to accept abuse from any man.
Unless you’ve been under a rock or hiding in a cave, you’ve seen the video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching then-fiancée Janay Palmer and dragging her out of an elevator knocked out cold. Days later, Ray and Janay were married. Some women wondered why she still married him, while others approved because he makes serious money—and could possibly change his abusive ways.
Since the Ray Rice story, other incidents of domestic violence involving football players, professional and college-level, have made the news. Even before Domestic Violence Awareness month in October, we’ve been reminded that this problem exists at all socioeconomic levels and affects women everywhere.
I try not to quote lots of statistics in my writing, but with this hot topic, you need to know the National Hotline gets about three million abuse calls yearly. A television report also noted 4.7 million cases of abuse occur yearly and three women die daily from abuse. Sadly, only 55% of cases are reported, with most abuse cases being women between ages 18-24.
As a therapist, a married man before my wife went home to live with Jesus, a father of three daughters, and having grown up in a house with a mother and two older sisters, there is no way I can condone a man hitting a woman under any circumstances.
I once facilitated a group of women who had been emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. The most difficult part was the first three or four weeks when the women had psychological transference issues and saw me as another perpetrator trying to manipulate them.
One of the women secretly tested me, which allowed me to gain her trust after she saw my compassion for their plight. The tension was reduced, and the women opened up and shared things that almost stopped my heart as I empathized with them. How controlling, insensitive, uncaring, angry, and brutal some men can be!
I listened as they discussed tear-filled, sleepless nights, past pain, bad choices, and desperation. They shared their regrets and how the past continued to haunt them.
I said to them and I say to you now: stop looking back at what you’ve done or what you’ve allowed to be done to you. It’s in the past, and it’s the pain and problem of yesterday. You have to know your value and that you don’t deserve to be abused. How do you know you have value? “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). Knowing this truth from God’s Word, the ghost of abuse can no longer haunt your dreams, invade your sleep, or convince you to live a lie another day.
No woman should ever be abused or tolerate abuse in any manner. If you meet a man, and he disrespects you from the beginning, move on. If he talks to you in a condescending manner, move on. If the only emotion he seems to know is anger, move on. If his emotional state toward you is distant or he refuses to show emotion, move on. If he does not value and honor you, move on.
Abuse, whether emotional, physical or sexual, is a curse, and you were never meant to be cursed. But the Lord can turn the curse into a blessing for you because He loves you (Deuteronomy 23:5b). Ladies, you are valuable in the Lord’s sight, so value yourselves by only sharing your life with godly men who will adore you, adorn you, and address you as God would.
by Gerald Bower