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)

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Truth about Christian Women and Abuse

Jesus said we would know the truth, and the truth would set us free. Since only the truth can set us free, it goes without saying, that without the truth, we cannot be free. So what is the truth about Christian women and abuse?

Is it true that Christian women experience abuse? Some say they don’t. Others acknowledge that abuse is taking place but deny responsibility for determining the real truth concerning individual situations. Still others do not deny the abuse at all but encourage Christian wives to submit to it, to pray and, above all, to stay in the marriage and be willing to suffer for Christ.

What is the truth about Christian women and abuse? And, more importantly, are we willing to allow the truth in regards to this very controversial issue to set us free?

It is a sad fact that many Christian wives do experience abuse and are even battered by their husbands. It is also a fact that even in situations where the abuse is acknowledged by Church leaders, it is sometimes acknowledged only because it has become politically correct to do so and then, as quickly as possible, is swept under the rug.

One case in point involves a young wife who went to her pastor for support because her husband was treating her abusively, to the point of physical violence. She had, in fact, already separated from her husband, and an emergency order of protection was in place. Her pastor assured her that he believed her and was supportive of her taking whatever steps she felt necessary in order to feel safe. However, during the same counseling session, she was warned that because her violent husband was also a member in good standing within that same congregation—and was vigorously denying the abuse, she was not to attempt to garner support by telling other church members her side of the story. She was bluntly told that the Church was not called to be on a “fact-finding” mission, and she was expected to keep her experience to herself. She was forbidden to burden her church family with the need to discern the real truth of the situation.

Is that an example of the truth setting free?

The young wife is not free. It is true that she is free from the violence and feels relatively safe—but now she also feels abused and betrayed by the very church family she looked to for support as she attempted to navigate a very difficult and painful transition in her life. But how can they help bear her burden when she has been forbidden by her pastor to tell them the truth?

The pastor is not free. He fears the truth. Because if he acknowledges the truth, he will be obligated to act upon it by initiating, due to the violent nature of the offense, some sort of Church discipline against the violent husband.

The congregation is not free. The truth is being hidden from them.

And, lastly, the abusive husband is certainly not free. By refusing to confront him with the truth, his Christian leadership is failing in at least attempting to assist this man in coming to a place of repentance, which could possibly bring help free him from the sin of abusing those he claims to love.

What excuse is there that can justify refusal to walk in the truth that our Lord assures us will set us all free?

As the author of, Woman Submit: Christians & Domestic Violence, and founder of The Dorcas Network, a network devoted to empowering Christians to respond compassionately, effectively and biblically to families experiencing abuse and domestic violence, I am frequently contacted by those who claim abuse and domestic violence is not really an issue in our modern culture at all, much less the epidemic it is said to be—and certainly not among Christians. It is claimed, instead, that the issue is altogether a creation of hysterical feminists who are using it to further an evil agenda aimed at destroying the family, but even a cursory glance at the United States Department of Justice Family Violence Statistics refutes such claims and confirms that women are indeed frequent victims of abuse and domestic violence.

An independent survey done by the Methodist Church in conjunction with the University of Surrey Roehampton under the auspices of the Southlands Methodist Centre, shows that Christian women are well represented among the large numbers of women who experience abuse. According to that survey, one in four Christian women will experience domestic violence at least once in her lifetime.

There is compelling evidence that violence against women is a serious reality—and Christian women are certainly not exempt from this reality.

Are those who insist the Church should maintain a comfortable neutrality in the case of abuse or domestic violence, between spouses, telling us the truth? Should Christians be at all concerned with knowing the truth of individual situations? Are all such “fact-finding” missions wrong?

Not if they are done in the right spirit and for the right reasons.

Christian leaders should be about the Father’s business of helping those within their congregations to know the truth about Christian women and abuse. Christian leaders should be assisting those who come to them for help in finding freedom from the abuse. And that cannot be done without first knowing the truth…which Jesus emphatically promises will set us all free.

Jocelyn Andersen

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Eagle Forum: No Longer PRO-FAMILY -- Open letter to Phyllis Schlafly

Dear Phyllis Schlafly,

I am Jocelyn Andersen, author of, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence. I mailed a copy of my book to the Eagle Forum office some months back. I do not know if you received it or not. I also contacted, via email, an Eagle Forum leader and asked her to forward the email to you. It contained my comments about what you were publishing concerning domestic violence, along with a plea for you to reconsider your position on the issue. I included a PDF copy of the book in that email just in case you did not receive the print copy. I have never received a reply to either communication.

Domestic Violence destroys families. Women are dying because of domestic violence. Yet, for some reason, you have chosen to embrace and promote the cause of blatantly anti-female and anti-family organizations. You use the tremendous voice God has bestowed on you through Eagle Forum in foisting these off on political and religious leaders as PRO-FAMILY advocates—which they most decidedly are not.

Groups such as, the American Coalition of Fathers and Children (ACFC) and Media RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting), are not pro-family. A mere glance at their websites and at the sites of other so-called “family or father's rights” groups who look to them for leadership and support—hundreds of them—reveals an agenda that is dedicated to basically one thing—proving that most women are liars and willing to manipulate the legal systems, and in the process, destroy their husbands and families, in order to get what they want.

Many of these “father’s / family rights” websites (Media RADAR topping the list) are admittedly dedicated to proving that most allegations of domestic violence are false, and that it is not a real problem within our culture—and if it is, these men are claiming that it is the women who are the primary aggressors and instigators of family violence.

You say these organizations have hundreds of surveys proving that women are the primary aggressors and abusers while men are the real victims?

Department of Justice statistics do not back up the results of these surveys. The facts and figures cannot be altered. The injured and dead remain the injured and dead. More than 3 dead women every day—1400 dead women a year—testify to the fact that domestic violence is indeed a destroyer. Mark B. Rosenthal wrote the truth about "surveys." While writing for Media RADAR, he said, "With a U.S. population of 297 million, it's possible to cherrypick a small non-representative sample to prove nearly anything."

The objective facts are these, 30% of female homicides are committed by intimate partners. 5% of male homicides are committed by intimate partners. So how does that translate into, "Women are the real aggressors and men are the real victims?" I'd say we have 200+ cherry picking surveyors out there—Including Media RADAR which sponsored one of the most recent.

Domestic violence is a sin and a crime regardless of who perpetrates it. Just because the facts reveal males are more likely to commit violent crimes than females does not mean we need to allow this thing to degenerate into an all out gender war—which it has, and which Eagle Forum, apparently with great enthusiasm, has enlisted in.

I was so disappointed to see that, within the evangelical community, the voice of Phyllis Schlafly has been one of the loudest in contributing to the oppression of women by attempting to refute the claims of those experiencing violence and abuse.
I beg you to reconsider your position. The facts simply do not back it up.

Abuse and Domestic violence are destroyers not only of families, but of physical lives as well. Yet you continue to lump most women who claim to be victims of domestic violence in the "radical feminist" camp, while advocating for male supremists who masquerade (poorly) as "pro-family" advocates—and spend much time (along with non-profit dollars) attempting to debunk the claim that millions of American women (and by extension entire families) are affected adversely by domestic violence.

Do these detractors have a leg to stand on? According to The Department of Justice, they do not. Statistics show that 1 in 3 households are effected by domestic violence.

How many "households" are there in the United States? According to the census bureau, the 2007 estimate was well over 111 million households in this country (they project 115 million by the year 2010).
Do the math.

Multiple millions of people are effected by domestic violence, and according to Department of Justice statistics, most of the direct recipients of the violence are women.

Yet in spite of overwhelming evidence proving that abuse and domestic violence are a real danger to women and children in this country (and yes, even among professing evangelical Christians), you have repeatedly made public appearances on behalf of men and organizations that go to great lengths in attempting to convince the American public and our leaders otherwise.

You appeared on Glenn Sack's radio program. Glenn Sacks is a male supremist who is at least honest about the fact that he is only interested in advocating for men. But "pro-family" cannot even begin to describe his agenda. What in the world were you doing there?

You have appeared with leaders of ACFC and Media RADAR in advocating their cause. And you have interviewed them as guests on your radio program. You have lent the tremendous influence Eagle Forum wields in a big way to a bad cause.

And the end is not in sight. According to the Eagle Forum website, you plan to put Stephen Baskerville, president of the American Coalition of Fathers and Children (ACFC) behind the podium at your next Leadership Conference. He will be there promoting his book, TAKEN INTO CUSTODY, which Eagle Forum endorses.

It is a fact that family court injustices happen to good fathers and mothers. There are both men and women who will abuse both children and the legal system for their own wicked ends. But men like Baskerville, push for shared custody while falsely blaming mothers for deliberately slicing fathers out of the picture in areas of child custody. Mothers are accused of turning children against their fathers while fraudulently claiming abuse or domestic violence.

Stephen Baskerville’s position is fundamentally skewed—based as it is upon a false premise. I have met and briefly spoken with Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., the coordinator of Trauma Disorder Services for Children at Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Silberg has extensive training and experience in the areas of child custody and false accusations. She does not agree that shared custody is good for children. Nor does her experience reveal that most accusations of abuse in custody cases are false.

Any honest, thinking, person can see that the family court system is in desperate need of reform and also that it is not pro-family. But neither are the men in these so-called "family / father's rights" groups pro-family. These groups occupy acres of web-real estate in which they teach each other how to successfully use the legal systems against the mothers of their children. It is absolutely evil.

It is not fathers who are losing their rights. Rather, it is mothers who are losing their children—completely.

I have personally met and spoken with both Wendy Titelman and Jonea Schillaci, mothers who, with overwhelming legal evidence attesting to their former husband's sexual abuse of their daughters, not only lost custody of their children to the abusive parent, but lost their children altogether. Wendy Titelman is permitted to have zero contact with her daughters (she has not seen them in years), and I believe Jonea is allowed brief, infrequent, "supervised" visits. It is an absolute outrage. It is a legal atrocity. And the list does not even begin to stop with these two.

Wendy Titelman has been completely stripped of her children and they have been stripped of their mother. She is Rachel crying for her children because they are not.

I am having a difficult time comprehending how you can continue to ignore such overwhelming evidence that it is protective parents (both male and female—but mostly female) who are suffering blatant discrimination in the family courts—largely due to the application of the late Richard Gardner’s PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME (PAS) to any case where a child or mother claims abuse has taken place at the hands of the father. PAS is not endorsed by the APA, it is junk science, and the man who has managed to hold sway in so many family courts through his prolific writing (and financial backing) has committed suicide—by stabbing himself to death. And his writings should be used to teach family court judges, social workers and custody evaluators about mental and emotional health? In addition to this, the man was a pedophile. His public statements and writings attest to this fact—I refer you to The Leadership Council, in which Dr. Joyanna Silberg is vice president, which provides documentation of Gardner's pedophilic statements and writings. Before his suicide, Gardner stated that he felt our culture seriously overreacts to the crime of pedophilia.

The organizations Eagle Forum is now endorsing, ACFC and Media RADAR, all promote Richard Gardner and his writings.

Why, instead of defending men who deny abuse happens as frequently as it does, and who use the writings of a pedophile to back their case, when the statistics prove otherwise—are you not defending protective parents, who include large numbers of women who have been battered and children who are being given to parents who are abusing and/or molesting them? These claims are not the rantings of hysterical feminists as you so loudly and repeatedly proclaim—these things are indeed happening.

I wish I could continue to consider Eagle Forum a PRO-FAMILY organization, but in light of your continued refusal to acknowledge obvious facts and public endorsement of individuals and organizations who are blatantly anti-family, I regret that I can no longer do so.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Gender Wars and Skewed Survey Results: A Network Update

Dear Network Members and Friends,

I will be traveling to California in September to tape a show dealing with the issue of CHRISTIAN MYTHS ABOUT ABUSE. The show will be aired nationwide in October if not sooner. I covet your prayers for traveling mercies and that the Holy Spirit will be with my mouth while the cameras are rolling!

Things appear to be heating up in the arena of Domestic Abuse & Violence--especially where Christian response and gender roles are concerned. I know that many are aware that, in the Evangelical community, there is a full scale gender war in progress. I am not interested in enlisting. Never the less, from time to time, I am called upon to comment on these issues, and I wish to do so only under the influence and anointing of the Holy Spirit. I have deliberately held back from responding too hastily to the highly publicized comments made by Bruce Ware concerning gender roles at the Denton Bible Church. I have posted a few responses on the **Woman Submit blogspot and plan to add more.

I am also prayerfully researching studies which claim to prove that women are the primary aggressors in domestic violence and are inundating the courts with false claims of abuse in custody cases. I will reserve comment on this until after I post the results of my own research which should be posted on this blog sometime in August. **Please monitor the Dorcas Network site and blog for postings on these things (links in sidebar).

I realize so many who have been laboring long and hard in advocating for battered and abused Christian women are tempted to become frustrated with how difficult it is to make real progress in this area and possibly even with my "slowness" in responding to certain issues. I beg your mercy, indulgence, and above all PRAYERS. I would rather approach things prayerfully, carefully and slowly, and have my facts straight, than to respond hastily, in the flesh--not by the Spirit, and have my facts wrong. That would be a disservice to everyone.

Be encouraged. NOT BY MIGHT, NOT BY POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT SAITH THE LORD. Let us not grow weary in well doing and continue to be Light and Salt within our spheres of influence.

Love & Prayers


One more thing: It has come to our attention that WOMAN SUBMIT! has disappeared from some of the databases used by local book stores. We are currently working to resolve this issue with our distributors. In the meantime, we know that the book is easily available at Books-a-Million and Borders Books. Some local stores can also still get the title, so it doesn't hurt to check with them. All of our online retailers (Amazon.com, BarnesandNobles.com, and many more) still have it, and of course it is still offered free for Download at
http://www.womansubmit.com/ .

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Aspects of Abuse and Christian Response

Click the link to Listen to Butch Watkins and Jocelyn Andersen Discuss How to Tell if an Abuser Has Changed http://hungryheart100.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/01trac01.mp3

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm So Pretty...Oh So Pretty....

Battered women are being told that in order to be free from the violence, they must realize what beautiful creations of God they are.

I have to tell you, as a formerly battered Christian wife, that statement was (and still is) so irrelevant to me and my situation.

My problem was not that I did not know and understand that I was made in God's image. I understood that perfectly.

My problem was that I needed to be certain of what God's perfect will was in regards to my situation before I could make a move to change it--that and the fact that I loved my ungodly, abusive and violent husband and wanted with all my heart for him to repent of his sinful behavior and help make our marriage work.

The last time I looked, none of those things are sinful, wrong, or even dysfunctional. In fact, they are all encouraged by the Bible and by most any Christian leader who is worth his or her salt.

But I did need to leave the marriage, and the things I needed to know in order to confidently change my situation were revealed to me by the Spirit of God using the written Word of God--the Bible.

Those things were very specific and had absolutely nothing to do with how beautiful I thought I was (although the Lord, at one point, did show me how he views all blood bought, born again, children of God. And they are beautiful to him).

Battered Christian women are being sold a bill of goods by people who claim to be Christian but seem to be sold out to unscriptural psychological theories.

There are currently several high profile domestic violence organizations that are making it their business to minister to the "spiritual" needs of battered women of any and all spiritual persuasions. The "Jesus" presented, by these organizations, to victims who profess Christianity, due to the exclusivity of his own claims, must of necessity be "another Jesus"--not the Jesus of the Bible.

This is a spiritually-dangerous practice, and battered Christian women must be told that they are being asked to put on a set of the emperor's new clothes.

Yes, God wants us to be healthy--spiritually, physically and emotionally. But the only way we can do that is by first understanding the fact that we are made of clay, and then by falling on the stone that the builders rejected.

Jesus is our only answer, the "real" Jesus, the exclusive Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible. We must believe the Word of God which tells us that we already love ourselves well enough, and we must also believe that it is not in a man to understand the way he should take. We must begin to acknowledge HIM in all our ways so HE can direct our paths.

That is true freedom, and that is what set me free. Embracing the unscriptural concept of realizing what a "beautiful person" I was never played even the most insignificant part in the process.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Preparing to be Prepared

Battered women usually turn to their family, friends and pastors for help before making the decision to resort legal to options and resources.

As a church family, are we prepared to be prepared when a fellow member turns to us experiencing a domestic violence crisis? Because in a violent marriage, the crisis will come, and usually with little or no warning. How quickly will we be able to respond when that happens?

There are churches with wonderful systems in place to ensure that members in need do not fall through the cracks. Women's ministries often have their procedures down to a science when ministering to church members who are experiencing illness or a death in the family. How important is it to ensure that a wife who is in crisis due to domestic violence receives an immediate, knowledgable and practical response to her need? In her case, the threat of injury or death is very real.

Who, in our congregations, is the most knowledgeable in how to proceed when informed of a domestic violence situation? If it is not the pastor, does the pastor know who this person is? Do other church members know who this person (or persons) is?

Church fellowships need to get involved with short term crisis intervention while a victim works out the details of her long term plans and needs. Short term needs would include shelter and counseling.These are usually very temporary. Who in your church knows of a safe place where a battered wife can go in times of crisis?

For long term needs, legal assistance will most likely be needed. Not all attorney's are trained in how to represent the needs of a domestic violence victim. Who in your congregation is knowledgeable about legal resources and attorney's who are qualified in this area of law?

Are we ready to help bear the burdens of the battered wives in our midst? Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Perpetuating Abuse Through Litigation

Gail's children are currently in the custody of their father (who has been convicted and served jail time for physically assaulting and battering Gail on more than one occasion).

The children are being abused, neglected and sexually molested by their custodial father. The courts will not remove the children from this environment in spite of documented evidence the abuse is indeed taking place.

In addition to abusing the children, Gail's ex-husband is using his money and the court system to harass and abuse her through litigation. The father has money and can afford sharp lawyers. Gail has no money and cannot get an attorney.

This family desperately needs our prayers. In addition to all of the above Gail also needs her heart healed and repentence to take place in her life. Although she is in church every Sunday, she is very angry with God.

This is an authentic situation as related to Jocelyn Andersen by Gail--a non-custodial mother (her name has been changed as she is currently in litigation).

Friday, February 22, 2008

How Can We Know Whether or Not an Abuser has Really Changed

How to Tell If Abusers Are Not Changing Abusive Behavior
(If an abuser is female simply exchange “He/Him” for “She/Her”)

An abuser has not changed when the following factors are present:

  • Says, “I can't change unless you do,” or “I've changed, but you aren't changing.” This is an attempt to convince the victim to give up rights and freedoms in exchange for not being abused.
  • Says, “I'm not the only one who needs help.” This is refusal to accept personal accountability for the abuse--trying to gain sympathy from the victim, family members and friends. The abuser who says this, is still lying about the abuse and attempting to cover it up. There is no acknowledgement that the abuse was wrong—no remorse concerning the abuse, only sorrow that there are consequences to pay.
  • Refusal to allow the subject of the abuse to come up or gets angry when it does
  • Refusal to discuss controlling behaviors and attitudes
  • Continues to deny the abuse, minimize it, excuse, or justify it
  • Defends abusive behaviors—Insists that the victim “just get past it.”
  • The abuser plays the victim by asking question such as, "How could you do this to me?"
  • The abuser continues to blame the victim for all the problems
  • Overly charming behavior—continually reminding the victim of all “the good times” and ignoring the bad
  • Trying to buy victim back with romantic gifts, dinners, flowers. All while insisting on the need to stay together to work it out (abuse must be stopped. It cannot be “worked out.”
  • Refusal to seek help or He promises to get counseling or other help, but never does.
  • Seeks help then attempts to convince the victim that he is cured, pressuring her to take him back now. Examples: "Now that I'm in this program, you have to be more understanding." Or "I'm learning a lot from this program". If an abuser is using this kind of pressure, then as soon as he gets his way, he will most likely drop the program. This is why it is very critical that if you are considering reconciliation, then watch his behaviors, talk in depth, and give it time. If he is really changing, he will respect your desires on this.
  • Sometimes, instead of counseling, the abuser will suddenly claim to have found God; he goes to church a few times. He might even go as far as to get baptized and join a church.
  • The abuser cries and begs. They particularly like to do this in a public situation so that the victim becomes embarrassed and appears to be "cold hearted."
  • Does things to sabotage the victim’s efforts to make it on her own.
  • Harassment or stalking - If the victim asks for space or time, the abuser refuses to allow it and continues to make contact—Harassing by phone calls, threats, legal frustrations, showing up at work, or hanging around family.
  • Continues to restrict the rights of the victim
  • Continues to behave in a superior manner
  • Continues to make it difficult for the victim to express herself or speak freely
  • Continues to demand constant attention – will not allow the victim to take care of her own needs.
  • Continues to put down and criticize the victim - ignores her strengths and contributions to the relationship.
  • Refusal to support the victim’s independence or to acknowledge her rights
  • Holds on to double standards
  • Continues to deny victim her fair share of the marital assets, i.e., money
  • His wants and needs continue to be placed above all else
  • Refusal to recognize damage caused by the abuse
  • Becomes angry with the victim over consequences she has suffered due to his abuse
  • Is angry or seems confused as to why you fear him, do not trust him, or are hurt and angry with him
  • Attempts to avoid consequences by trying to convince the you that something is wrong with you for allowing him to have any consequences
  • Behaving as if he is above reproach
  • Claiming that he would never hurt you - despite the fact that he has done many things to hurt you
  • Angry with you for leaving - instead of recognizing your right to have done so
  • Behaves as if you owe him
  • Impatient or critical with you for not forgiving him immediately – or not being satisfied with changes he claims he has made but you see no evidence of, or with changes he may have made but were not the changes you requested
  • Only seems concerned with how difficult the situation is for him and no one else
    • Feels sorry for himself
  • Does not show appropriate concern for how you and the children feel about what he's done - Abuse does more than just hurt, it is damaging, and if he does not show appropriate concern for the damage he has done, then he has not changed.
  • Still does things that are inappropriate for an intimate relationship - Cheating, not including you in family decisions, hoarding all the marital assets such as money, property, cars, stocks, bonds, etc. and refusing to allow you to have access to them.
  • Says he can only change if you help him - wants emotional support and forgiveness, and for the victim to return home immediately.
  • He claims to be changing, but you can see that he is not
  • He becomes angry with you for not realizing how much he has changed
  • He becomes angry with you for not trusting that he has changed - Abusers often apologize, and then become angry if forgiveness is not immediately forthcoming, as if saying, “I’m sorry,” instantly resolves the matter. The victim is expected to drop everything, and just move forward.
  • The abuser applies pressure for a reconciliation, because he can't “wait forever."
  • He is rude about you to the children
  • He threatens and tries to intimidate you – This is default behavior for most abusers. If you do not stop asking for change, he generally will convert to threats and attempts to intimidate. This often includes threats to attack family and friends, threats to kill you or "put out a contract on you," Threats that he will take the children away or get custody of them himself, or threats to kill himself.

These are all signs that the abuser has no intention of changing his behavior. This is then, his choice of how he wants to live his life. Your choice is, can you live with his choice?

Sticky Situation

A Pastor's Wife Said:
>>It can be a sticky situation when you know both the husband and the wife in the situation and you care for them both...you have to the remain neutral. You can end up bringing your work home with you and start causing confusion in your own home.<<

Jocelyn Replies:

Here is where it gets stickier.

In a normal situation where a church member is accused of blatantly practicing a sinful lifestyle (which is what Domestic violence consists of), the Bible instructs us to approach the offending party and confront him with the known facts. If repentence is not forth-coming, then we are instructed to take witnesses to the facts and approach him again. If there is still no repentence, we are then instructed to present the case before the church and remove the person from fellowship if necessary.

In the case of a violent husband, the Biblical instruction makes no exception, except that it would be best if the wife was out of the home and in a place of safety before any such action is undertaken, or her life and safety could be seriously compromised. In my case, I did not leave my violent husband before he was confronted by our church leadership, but chose to stay in the home and save my marriage (that decision almost cost me my life).

As I said, my husband and I were not separated when he was confronted with his sin by the pastors of our church, who made it very clear to him that they were supporting me in every way. In fact, when the next assault came, it was my pastor who called the police--not me.

If a woman comes to us while still living in the home with her husband, sometimes all we can do is believe her, pray for her, be there for her at all times, and encourage her (without blame and condescension) to take steps that will ensure her safety. Choices must be based on each individual situation with the wife's safety always uppermost in mind.

I disagree with the pastor's wife who made the comment at the beginning of this article. I continue to maintain, that neutrality is never an option. Not even when both parties are known and loved. My violent [former] husband was a well loved, associate pastor of our church.

I appreciate the fact that forgiveness on the part of the battered spouse must take place. I understand all too well the importance of that. But neutrality on the part of church leaders is certainly not an option.

My pastors were aware of what was going on in my violent marriage. And I Thank God they were courageous enough not to take a politically correct, "neutral" position. I thank God that they were more than willing to take their problems home with them when they invited me into their home, for my safety, on more than one occasion (although I do recommend wisdom and caution here as wife-beaters are becoming increasingly more dangerous towards those who assist battered wives).

Below is an excerpt from my book that deals with the response of wife-beaters to counseling solutions. I believe this excerpt is relevant to this article:

...in an abusive or violent marriage, the rules do not apply? for the simple reason that one of the members of the marriage does not acknowledge the rules as applying to him.

Physical violence is against the law, yet the wife-beater breaks the law. He sees one law for himself and another law for everyone else. If he disdains civil law, what makes us think the laws of God will mean anything to him?

Could professional counseling help? It might, if the batterer would seek it. He rarely does. What about pastoral counseling? Many abusers are professing Christians. They are often active in their churches. Some are Pastors in their churches. Some might be willing to seek pastoral counseling. But are most pastors qualified to deal with abusive situations? In my personal experience, no, they are not.

I sought help from both pastors and licensed counselors. None of the pastors I approached (and only one of the licensed counselors) were qualified to deal with the problems in my marriage. And none gave me any advice that I found helpful in navigating the situation.

I had been doing much research into the subject myself, and received acknowledgements from more than one of them that I probably knew more about the dynamics of such a relationship than they did. It truly is a dark arena. One counselor even admitted to being intimidated by such a knowledgeable client.

I was told more than once there was no hope for my marriage (who besides God could know that?), and one of them came right out and blamed me for the abuse. She said I had trained my husband to be abusive?she probably learned that from listening to Drs. Minirth and Meier's Christian Psychology Radio Clinic on Moody radio, or by reading their book, Happiness Is a Choice, which places the blame squarely on the battered wife for the fact that her husband beats her.

Time and again, I was put on the defensive by the very ones I went to for help. They all wanted to know why I stayed (sound familiar?).

In seeking a counselor for such a marriage, experienced, professional, counsel for the abuser must be sought--not a marriage counselor for the couple. Marriage counseling for couples will not work in a domestic violence situation--at least not at first. It is essential that someone well trained, with a successful track record in working with abusers be sought.

I do not usually recommend that Christians seek counseling from non-Christian counselors, but in this case, if a qualified Christian counselor cannot be found, I make an exception. The reason for this is, we are dealing with physical violence--assault. Women can and do die from being assaulted by their husbands. We are talking about saving lives. Even if the batterer is a professing Christian, he is demonstrating absolutely no regard for what God says about his behavior. He is rebelling against God by living a lifestyle contrary to biblical teachings. He is breaking the law. He is wreaking havoc and destruction on every life that is within his sphere of influence. If there is no qualified Christian counselor available and a non-Christian counselor has demonstrated an ability to help abusers see the attitudes that lead to such destruction and can help them change their behavior, and possibly help save a life and a family, I say go for it.

Studies do show that the safety of battered wives often improves while the batterer is participating in a batterer prevention program, and what is there to prevent God from doing a transforming work in someone's life through a secular program? Who is to say this may not be the vehicle God chooses for some?

Unfortunately, even with counseling, most abusers are reluctant to seek real change. They often attend counseling sessions only under extreme pressure, such as their wife leaving or a court order, and are really only seeking a way to restore the status quo back to where they want it--which is their wife living in the home and them in complete control.

My abusive husband received court ordered counseling. It helped. He attended group sessions for three months, but he refused to continue past the time ordered by the court. Within two weeks of discontinuing counseling, he returned to his former abusive behavior. For us, the batterer's intervention program was only a temporary remedy. However, I do not rule out the possibility that someone else might experience more lasting results than my spouse did. Admittedly, though, my faith in counseling as a solution to marital violence is minimal.

It turns out that professional studies in Florida agree with me on this. Follow-up studies have shown no difference at all in the numbers of men who re-assault their wives as compared to those ordered into programs or those just getting probation. Other studies conclude that, overall, there is some success among batterers who complete the programs.

The catch is getting them to complete the programs--48% drop out. Findings reveal most of the success takes place while the abusive men are actively attending weekly sessions, but many quickly relapse into violent behavior when the counseling is discontinued.

Arrest and prosecution have been proven, by far, to be the best method in deterring violence.


If a wife does leave the home, and the violent husband exhibits repentence, every effort should be made, when and if the time comes, to restore that man back into church fellowship--that can only happen if the sin is confessed, repented of and steps are taken in the form of seeking some tangible help in overcoming the issues that caused the violence in the first place. This does not consist of marriage counseling for the couple--although they might benefit from it later.

Wife-beaters are very manipulative, willing to lie (a man that will beat his wife, will not hesitate to lie) and fake repentence or a conversion if that is what it takes to get their way. So I would not be hasty in restoring a violent man back into fellowship unless he actually "completed" a course (or courses) of anger management or whatever helpful resource is available to him--at the very least.

In addition to these facts being backed up by research, I speak from experience.

My violent [former] husband **did not comply with court ordered anger managment classes. Even so, and after 6 months of no violence in our home, our pastor was convinced of true repentence and deliverance from anger issues and wife-beating habits. My husband was released from Church Discipline and restored to his position of associate pastor.

Less than a month later he tried to kill me.

The attack is described in chapter one of my book. That chapter can be read online at www.WomanSubmit.com , and the police photo's of my injuries can be seen on the front and back covers of the book.

**Over a period of nine years, I experienced abuse and domestic violence through two abusive marriages. Facts that held true for one marriage do not necessarily hold true for both. For simplicity's sake, in the book, the marriages are treated as one composite marriage

You TWO Need to Get it Together!

I was fortunate to have a very supportive pastor as I was struggling through most of that last difficult year with my [former] violent husband. But everyone has their limits, and at one point my pastor (who had obviously reached his limit) became fed up with the abusive situation in our home and said to me, "you two just need to get it together!"

It was very painful for me to hear that. And my pastor was dead wrong.

The old saying, "It takes two to tango," cannot be applied in a domestically violent situation as the assaults do not always come as a result of an argument or any provocation that takes place within the relationship. They happen because a violent, controlling person becomes angry and chooses to exhibit abusive or violent behavior. And it usually has nothing to do with anything the victim has done or not done.

In an abusive or domestic violence situation, it is entirely inappropriate to ask the abused/battered party to accept any portion of the blame for the situation. The only party that can be held morally or legally responsible for the abuse or violence is the one perpetrating it.


Thursday, January 24, 2008



The U.S. Department of Justice documents the flow of family violence through the justice system and issues statistics gathered and analyzed from the following sources: Victim Surveys and Police Statistics, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

  • (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)/ Crime Reported to Police
  • (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR) / Crime Recorded by Police
  • (FBI) National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) / Crime Recorded by Police / Arrests
  • (BJS)State Court Processing Statistics / Prosecution and Adjudication / Sentencing
  • (BJS) Federal Justice Statistics Program / Prosecution and Adjudication / Sentencing
  • (BJS) Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities / Corrections
  • (BJS) Survey of Inmates in Local Jails / Corrections
  • (SCPS) State Court Processing Statistics

There is some discrepancy between victim survey numbers and police statistics, the report explains methods used in determining statistics. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/welcome.html Family Violence Statistic page last revised June 12, 2005

According to the Dept of Justice, family violence has remained static for the 10 year period prior to this report, fluctuating only in concert with the ratios of violence [in our society] in general.

Of roughly 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members in 2002, 49% of overall family violence were crimes against spouses.

  • Females constituted 58% of family murder victims
  • 63% of spouse murderers used fire arms
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers
  • Males were 75% of murderers who killed a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Females were 84% of spouse abuse victims
  • 3/4 of victims of family violence were female
  • 3/4 of persons who committed family violence were male
  • Most family violence victims were white-74%
  • Most family violence offenders were white-79%...

Of the approx 60% of family violence victimizations reported during the period of 1998-2002:

  • The reporting rate among female victims was not significantly greater than the reporting rate among male victims
  • The FBI accounted for 72% of all interstate domestic violence referrals
  • Federal courts convicted 90% of defendants for interstate domestic violence offenses
  • 79% of convictions were the product of guilty pleas
  • 21% of convictions were the product of conviction following a trial
  • Most were male—96%

Family violence accounted for 33% of all violent crimes recorded by police in 18 states and the District of Columbia in the year 2000, of these, more than 270,000 family violence crimes, about half (53%) were crimes between spouses (110,000).

  • About 49% of family crime recorded by police resulted in arrest.
  • Males comprised 77% of suspected family violence offenders arrested in 2000

Police statistics show 33% of all violence is family violence, and that, 48% of family violence victims are spouses. 50% of offenders in state prisons for spousal abuse had killed their victims.

Of the crimes for which family violence offenders were in prison:

  • Most were against a female—78%
  • Local jail inmates convicted of family violence reported that their victims were predominantly female
  • Among family offenders who were in prison (both state and federal) in 1997, most were male—97%
  • Among jail inmates convicted of family violence, 55% injured their victim
  • Among family violence offenders in state prison in 1997, 93% were male
  • Among jail inmates convicted of family violence, 45% had been subjected to a restraining order in the past. 18% were under an active restraining order at the time admission to jail

    Demographic Characteristics of Family Violence Victims

  • Females are more likely than males to be victimized by family violence
  • Females were 84.3% of spouse abuse victims
  • Females were 85.9% of victims of violence between boyfriend and girlfriends
  • 73.5% of family violence occurs in the home

Between 1998 and 2002:

  • Four out of five violent offenders were male
  • Among violent crimes against a spouse, 86.1% of offenders were male
  • Against a boyfriend or girlfriend, 82.4% were male
  • Females comprised 22.6% of family violence offenders.