Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Dorcas Network at Seneca Falls 2

How can church fellowships be a support to protective and/or non-custodial parents? How can Christians support women and families who are experiencing domestic abuse?

Janice Levinson, co-founder with Lundy Bancroft of the Protective Mother's Alliance International and Waneta Dawn, author of, Behind the Hedge , a novel that explores the effects of domestic abuse on a Mennonite family, are featured speakers at the Seneca Falls 2 Evangelical Women's Rights Convention  .

Domestic Violence is our business. Let's learn how to respond compassionately, effectively, and Biblically!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time to Get Involved--Domestic Violence Services Fall Victim to State Budget Cuts

With a recession going on, State budgets are being slashed, and funding for domestic violence programs and services are decreasing in some states. As vital as these services are, as Christians, we should not depend on state services to come to the aid of battered and domestically abused wives within our spheres of influence. But for many, like pastor's wife, Susan Greenfield, author of, Would the Real Church PLEASE Stand Up!, domestic violence shelters and services were all she and her children had to turn to, and domestic violence counselors, instead of her church family, were her supporters as she navigated the terrifying minefield of domestic abuse.

Christians, we must step up to the plate here, and stop shying away from becoming involved in these horrendous situations. Lives depend upon it. The Word of God commands us bear one another's burdens, and a battered wife who comes to us for help is in compliance with the scriptural admonition to seek godly counsel in her situation (Psalm 1:1).

The first step we need to take is to educate ourselves in understanding the issue and learning how to respond to the situation biblically and compassionately. That is the purpose for the books listed in the sidebar of this blog. Together, they make for a well rounded library for the person who wishes to understand the vital issue of domestic abuse and become equipped to deal effectively with it.

After all is said and done, some may yet need to avail themselves of the safety of a shelter, but let it not be said among us, who call ourselves by the name of Christ, that we looked the other way and forced one of our own to seek only secular help.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spinning Our Wheels

The longer I look at the issue of domestic abuse among Christians, the more convinced I become that all the seminars and conventions in the world, on how to effectively deal with and hopefully stop domestic abuse and violence among Christians, are not going to change a thing until the patriarchal/complementarian doctrine of female subordination is repented of and cast out. It is a vicious doctrine that lies at the very heart of domestic abuse among Christians. It is the thing that perpetuates it and the thing that keeps church leadership from responding appropriately and compassionately to abuse victims.

The Complementarian/Patriarchal theology of rigid roles assigned by God to men and women is a doctrine of extreme prejudice against women with one of its main tenets being that females are inherently antagonistic toward males—most particularly wives against husbands. So in the eyes of the men and women who hold to this doctrine, that makes woman the natural and most powerful enemy of man.

Some time ago, I stated publicly, in writing, that I had no intention of enlisting in the gender war that is currently raging within the Church. That was before I understood that I had no choice in the matter. I now understand that all men and women are drafted into this war, and whether we choose to take no position at all (which means we are content to support the status quo which is complementarian patriarchy) or whether we choose to either quietly or loudly stand on our convictions, we are all in the thick of it, and I have finally, reluctantly, come to accept that fact.

My strong conviction is that prejudice against the female sex lies at the very root of the gender war and at the root of domestic abuse and violence. As evidenced through statements written by nearly all evangelical female authors regarding the viciousness of women’s attitudes and behavior towards men, this prejudice is manifested through women against women just about as much as through men against women. Sadly, it manifests prominently through the leadership of most Fundamentalist and Evangelical denominations, Churches, Bible colleges and Seminaries as well.

Until this prejudice which is perpetuated by the evangelical doctrine of gender-based authority in the home, church, and society is completely eradicated, I can safely predict that, not only will there will be no end to domestic abuse among Christians but that it will become even more prevalent.

We are beginning to explore this issue in some detail at the Woman Submit Blogspot

Friday, March 6, 2009


What goes on BEHIND THE HEDGE?

Behind the Hedge by Waneta Dawn is a spellbinding story that shatters the myth that a single act of domestic violence is an unusual or isolated incident sparked by some fault or action of the victim.

The author, who is both a survivor of domestic abuse and former facilitator for a batterer's intervention group, has crafted a story that draws the reader into the lives of Yvette, Luke and their family and gives an inside view into the psyches of both abuser and abused.

The book is both good reading and an excellent resource for Christians who want to learn more about responding compassionately and biblically to the sin of domestic abuse, for those who may be experiencing domestic abuse or wonder if they are experiencing domestic abuse or who know someone who is.

Waneta Dawn was raised in the Mennonite Faith. Readers can learn more about her and, BEHIND THE HEDGE, by visiting her website, http://www.wanetadawn.com/

Monday, January 12, 2009

Domestic Violence Is Child Abuse

The article below is written by a mother who is determined to protect her children from the devastating effects of domestic violence.

Anyone who does not believe domestic violence is child abuse has obviously not seen the damage that is done to children exposed to violence and abuse within the home. One source of danger is crossfire. A child may get caught in the middle. Flying objects, bullets, or fists can place a child in serious physical danger. Children may also attempt to protect their mother and become injured as the perpetrator attempts to force them out of the way.

We have all heard the horrific stories on the news of an abusive father murdering his own children, wife, and then taking his own life as well. These things do happen.

And what about children who witness domestic violence? As children’s brains develop, they are affected by what they see and hear. Trauma interferes with that development. I am not a psychologist, but I am a mother. A child who watches as his father yells, throws things, pushes, grabs, or strangles his mother IS affected. The child may become fearful, insecure, and timid, or the child may begin to imitate those same actions toward younger siblings or even towards his mother. A child may become so conditioned to the father's behavior patterns that he may even go so far as subconsciously understanding "safe" places to play out this behavior.

If the battering father is gentle and kind in public, yet cruel and violent in the privacy of the car and home, you can expect this same behavior out of his son if there is no intervention.

A mother may be accused of not being capable of parenting the children since she is the only one reporting the outrageous behavior of her son after leaving a batterer. If she was unable to change the violent/abusive behavior of her husband, how is she going to be able to change the violent/abusive behavior of her son who is being influenced by his father?

Parenting time between a child and a batterer MUST be limited—and supervised if possible. The courts must step in to protect our children. If a child hears the most influential male role model in his life refer to his mother in demeaning ways such as calling her, "stupid woman," the child will readily accept these words into his own vocabulary and developing belief system.

A mother can work to instill healthy views of men and women into her child, but will not be able to keep the child emotionally safe if the influence remains strong from the violent parent.

Do we have reason to believe an abusive husband will change after his wife leaves the relationship? Of course not. She did not cause him to abuse in the first place. It was something deep within himself that caused him to feel that it was acceptable to treat another person poorly. If he does not release his pent-up aggression on his wife after she leaves the relationship, it is very likely his need to release that aggression will not cease, and the child may become the new target. Lundy Bancroft's book, The Batterer as a Parent, goes into great detail on this subject. Bancroft describes the impossible task of being a mother and trying to productively "co-parent" with a batterer.

Please check out the domestic violence resources listed on The Dorcas Network website ( http://www.TheDorcasNetwork.com/ ). They are very helpful in understanding the dynamics of this destructive epidemic. Abuse can occur with the husband being the victim instead of the wife. Abuse also occurs in unmarried situations. And daughters as well as sons are adversely affected by the influence of violent or abusive fathers.

Marie Green
A Mother Determined to Protect

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Myth-Understandings About Domestic Abuse & Domestic Violence

Domestic abuse and domestic violence are rare. Not according to the department of Justice which claims 3 of every 100 American households is effected by domestic violence. According to the National Census Bureau, 3 of every 100 households adds up to approximately 37 million Americans, primarily women, who are experiencing domestic violence.

What is domestic abuse? Put simply, domestic abuse is WAR. It turns the home, which should be a sanctuary of peace and safety into a battlefield filled with destruction and misery--with the abuser waging psychological warfare, and sometimes physical warfare, against his or her victim(s).

Only women are victims of domestic abuse and/or violence. The Department of Justice figures show that males comprise 5% of domestic violence murder victims.

Studies prove that women violently abuse just as much or more than men do. Department of justice statistics do not back those studies up. As one supporter of those studies so succinctly put it, "With a U.S. population of 297 million, it's possible to cherry-pick a small, non-representative sample to prove nearly anything."

Substance abuse is a major cause of domestic violence. Although substance abuse is often used as an excuse for domestic violence, and can exacerbate and intensify incidences of abuse (and substance abusers certainly do need to address the issue), it is not the cause of domestic abuse or domestic violence. Abuse and domestic violence are inflicted on victims by those who have an excessive need for control. In the case of males against females, the root cause of abuse often stems from a deeply rooted sense of male privilege. Treatment for substance abuse will not cure domestic abuse or violence.

Anger management will prevent abusive behavior. Anger management will not cure abusive behavior, because anger is not the root cause of abuse or domestic violence. Although controlling anger is always helpful, it will not prevent recurrences of abuse if the core values of the abuser are not challenged and changed.

Submitting to the demands of an abuser will stop or prevent abuse from continuing. Not according to research. Studies have shown that the more submissive a victim is, the more likely the abuser is to continue and even increase the abuse. It is not recommended, however, to directly challenge a violent abuser.

Finding a good couple's counselor will help resolve abuse issues in a relationship. Couple's counseling will not prevent abuse. Abuse is a personal issue as well as a choice on the part of the abuser. Although abuse can cause problems in a relationship, abuse and/or domestic violence does not stem from problems in the relationship. When it comes to domestic abuse or domestic violence, the saying, “It Takes Two to Tango,” does not apply. One of the reasons couple's counseling is not recommended In the case of domestic violence, is that it increases the risk of physical violence and potential harm to the victim.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

12 Reasons Why Couples counseling is Not Recommended When Domestic Violence is Present

1. Focusing on the relationship assumes that each person contributes to the abusive behavior, when in truth the perpetrator is solely responsible for his abusive behavior.

2. Focusing on issues other than the abusive behavior allows the abusive behavior to continue.

3. Danger to the victim may increase due to the counselor’s involvement in the relationship. Because the batterer’s goal is to maintain control of the relationship, any interference on the counselor’s part may lead to an increase in his controlling behavior. The therapist may unwittingly elicit information or
initiate interventions that escalate abuse.

4. Blaming the victim. When abusive behavior is identified, the victim may be asked ”What was your part in this?” Alternatively the batterer may use comments and observations of the couples counselor to justify his abusive behavior (e.g., “Remember, he said how your refusal to answer my questions only makes things worse!”) many victims already tend to blame themselves; the counselor may
unwittingly encourage this.

5. Out of fear of further abuse, the victim may not be honest about the abuse or other issues in the couples session, giving the false impression that things are better than they really are.

6. On the other hand, the victim may have a false sense of security and safety in the couples session. This may lead her to disclose information she normally wouldn’t at home, believing that the therapist will keep her safe. Once they have left the safety of the counseling room, he may then retaliate with more abuse.

7. In couples counseling, if the therapist focuses extensively on the abuse, the batterer may feel shamed, scape-goated, and to blame for every problem in the relationship. In a batterer intervention group, while he is held accountable for his abuse, he is not blamed for every problem in the relationship. Couples counseling may discourage the level of disclosure that is possible in a group.

8. Before other issues in the relationship can be effectively addressed, the abusive behavior must end. Abusive behavior tends to distract attention away from other issues, like a smoke screen. This is akin to couples counseling where one or both parties are active alcoholics; until they are sober, such interventions have little effectiveness. Similarly, until the abuse has stopped, other interventions have
limited effectiveness.

9. It colludes with the batterer’s denial. It allows him to continue to blame her and/or the relationship for his abusive behavior. He can then take advantage of the couples sessions to further his agenda of control and power over her.

10. Often in couples counseling there is no assessment for violence. If an assessment is done with both people present, the potential for honest disclosure will be undermined.

11. A couples counselor who is focused on the relationship may be hesitant to strongly confront just one of the individuals, concerned this will be viewed as favoritism. Such failure to directly confront the abuse contributes to minimization and denial.

12. Couples counseling can keep a victim in the abusive relationship longer than she would otherwise stay, in the false hope that the counseling may make things better. Some forms of couples counseling require couples to make a time commitment (e.g. 3-6 months) of not separating while in the counseling, which may prolong an abusive relationship.

(By Chris Huffine. Used by permission)