“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its
own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
-1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Domestic violence is all too real and occurs more than some people believe. Approximately thirty percent of Americans say they know someone who has been physically abused by their spouse or significant other. The majority of victims are women, because they are weaker and more vulnerable. Domestic violence is a behavior used to establish power and control through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. It can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse. We all have probably known someone suffering from domestic violence but we never saw the signs because victims often hide the situation because of fear or they blame themselves for the attacks. The abusers isolate the victim and cause low self-esteem and get extremely jealous very easily.
Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States and at least one in every three women has been beaten or abused in her lifetime. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women- more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Also, men are also victims and women are perpetrators. One in every three domestic violence cases are male. Every day, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends and one man is murdered by his wife or girlfriend.
Domestic violence greatly affects children. Men, who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence, were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents. Approximately fifty percent of men who assaulted their wives also assaulted their children. Around 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually, most being under the age of twelve.
Domestic violence also puts a strain on finances. The costs of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceed 5.8 billion dollars per year. 4.1 billion dollars are for direct medical and health care services while 1.8 billion dollars are productivity losses or loss of wages. That’s nearly 8 million days of paid work per year- the equivalent of 32,000 full time jobs that pay approximately 56,250 dollars per year.
About half of all female victims of intimate violence report an injury of some type, and about twenty percent of them seek medical assistance. On average, twenty-one percent of female victims and ten percent of male victims of nonfatal partner violence contact an outside agency. Of those females and males contacting an outside agency, forty-five percent contact a private agency. On average only seventy percent of nonfatal partner violence is reported to law enforcement. Of those not reporting, forty-one percent male and twenty-seven percent of female victims stated victimization being a private or personal matter as reason for not reporting. Why do more men refuse to report abuse? Because of societies standards that the male is to be the strength of the relationship. Fifteen percent of women feared reprisal, twelve percent of all victims wished to protect the offender, and six percent believed police would do nothing. Some stick around in the relationship because they say “he loves me.” If he loved you, he wouldn’t hurt you. Between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who have been abused by their partners have never contacted any law enforcement or shelters for help. Many don’t go for help because they fear economic issues, children being taken from them, or further abuse. What they don’t realize is that the Bible clearly indicates that domestic abuse should not be tolerated. The Lord does not tolerate any sort of violence or words of hate or degradation.
“The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
“The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but
violence covers the mouth of the wicked.”
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak,
slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put
away from you, with all malice.”
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with
understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are,
but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life.
If you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard.”
-1 Peter 3:7
“In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are
still angry, and do not give the Devil a foothold.”
“Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice be heard on high.”
The Bible also promises God’s attention to the poor, needy, or oppressed in Psalm 22:24, Psalm 140:12, and Psalm 103:6, and exhorts God’s followers to support and help those suffering affliction in Hebrews 3:13. Abuse is inconsistent with God’s standard for the home.
“…learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause
of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten
the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.”
Romans 12:18 states that we are to live peaceably with all men, if possible. However, there comes a point when it is simply not possible to live at peace. The biblical principle of protection kicks in as in Nehemiah 4:12-14. When the Jews were rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, they faced opposition and possible attack so they set up soldiers to guard the wall from further damage. Just as Nehemiah set up the soldiers, we are to turn to God with prayers of protection, grace, and wisdom. But it should not just end at prayer. Victims of abuse should consult with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) for advice and help with their situation. Do not fear what man can do to you. God protects His children and will not let the oppressed suffer if they truly love Him and honor Him.And remember that girl with the bruised eye or timid appearance? Reach out to those who show signs of physical and emotional abuse.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy
both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of
them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear
not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
United States: call the National Domestic ViolenceHotline at 1-800-799-7233
UK: call Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247
Canada: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-363-9010
Australia: call 1800RESPECT at 1 800 737 732
Worldwide: visit International Directory of DomesticViolence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.
United States and Canada: The Domestic AbuseHelpline for Men and Women
Australia: One in Three Campaign