October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year, about 6 million women will be victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence includes physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, spiritual and financial abuse that occurs by one person in a relationship to control another. It is the mistreatment of one family member by another. It can include name-calling or putdowns, keeping a partner from contacting family or friends, withholding money, stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job, actual or threatened physical harm, sexual assault, stalking, and intimidation. It is the pattern of behavior that establishes control and power over another person through fear and intimidation. Studies indicate that battering escalates over a period of time, beginning with behaviors like threats, destroying property, and name-calling, then escalating to life-threatening assaults.
It is estimated that one out of four Christians is a victim/survivor of domestic violence. Many abusers will misuse and distort God’s word to justify their sin of abuse. But the truth is that when the Bible speaks of submission and the man being the head of the wife, it has nothing to do with abuse and everything to do with love. Men are called to love their wives. Women are called to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:33). Love and respect are in no way abusive. No one deserves abuse. It is not the victim’s fault that she or he was abused. Being more submissive or obedient will not end the abuse!
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence you may call 911 for immediate help or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). There is help available for abusers through the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program by calling 214-692-8295.
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