As we enter the second week of Domestic Violence Month it’s impossible to ignore the thought of someone’s innocence and life being ruined or shortened due to domestic violence. On average nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men and 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence. Studies suggest that there is a relationship between intimate partner violence and depression and suicidal behavior.7
Physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health effects have been linked with intimate partner violence including adolescent pregnancy, unintended pregnancy in general, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine hemorrhage, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. (According to NCADV, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
These reports only include those that are reported. As a victim myself, I know there are many more cases out there that have yet to be exposed because of fear and other reasons. In Chapters 2 and 4 of The Butterfly Effect(Purpose In The Process) you will find my testimonies on how God brought me through the mental and sexual abuse that I suffered at the hands of someone that I loved and thought loved me. Although there were no physical wounds inflicted(besides those that were received during forced sexual relations) there was the psychological damage caused by verbal abuse, humiliation and isolation from my friends and family. This haunted me well into adulthood which is why I stand firm on my cry to SPEAK OUT AND GET OUT. I know it’s easier said than done but in most adult cases the early signs of abuse are evident and if people only had enough strength to walk away when the first signs are presented, chances of abuse decrease. The world that we now live in is full of evil and apart from God many of us don’t stand a chance of being emotionally and physically free. Our children are forced to experience the effects of abuse due to the parents being exposed to toxic environments. Not every situation is the same and I know that from the outside of a situation looking in, it’s very hard to understand. However, I still have to stand by that “cry”.
Many of our people (men and women) suffer from unmet emotional needs, making it easier to get involved in relationships that are toxic to begin with. Low self-esteem, unworthiness, insecurities, etc. all play a major role in our relationships and who we connect with which makes us a target for unhealthy lifestyles. Having a relationship with Jesus and understanding our position in Christ is critical to the way we develop mentally, making it easier to discern toxic people and abstain from unhealthy relationships. We must be honest with ourselves and seek the help we need when we are struggling with these emotional needs. Again, as evil as the times are, we can’t afford to be passive or naïve when it comes to our relationships. Now, am I blaming the victims for what they endured? Absolutely not. This post was made as a sense of urgency to anyone who may be experiencing any signs of abuse and YES, verbal abuse counts. To not stay in unhealthy relationships just to say that you have someone or because you’re afraid of being alone. Please hear me! Being alone is so much better than being abused in any form or fashion. Love yourself enough to put your emotional health first.
As a believer I believe that anyone can change and if you feel that you and your mate can seek counseling, that’s great. By all means do it and in the mean time continue to build your relationship with Christ. He speaks to us concerning all of our decision making and he won’t steer you wrong, but when He speaks we must obey. (Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD).(Proverbs 2: 12 – 15 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse,who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways,who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.
Abuse may not start out physical but emotional. You may notice things like
- Controlling behavior
- Extreme jealousy
- Isolation(Your mate wants to keep you away from family, friends, etc)
- Threats of violence
- Forceful sex
- He or she invades your privacy
Once abuse turns physical, it’s hard to brush that off and nine times out of ten IT WON’T GET BETTER. The next step would be for you to make plans to leave that relationship before it gets any worse. Any voice in your head that says otherwise, don’t follow it up. Think about your life and future and do what you need to do for YOU!
If you find yourself in this situation and don’t know what to do, one of the following options may get you through the door….
- Call your local domestic violence hotline
- Speak to a trusted member of your community, church or family member.
- Call 9-1-1
Remember, we were all created to be loved. Love doesn’t hurt and no one should have to live in fear of someone that they love. Know that God loves you and wants the absolute best for you. He will fill every void in your life and you don’t have to settle for less than what you deserve. Trust God’s timing and don’t be so needy for a relationship that you just settle for anyone, especially if they are toxic! God will send the right one in HIS timing!
My heart and prayers are with anyone faced with these situations or are in doubt about their intimate relationships. I pray that the Holy spirit gives you clarity, wisdom and a peace of mind as you make the decisions that will not only effect you but your loved ones. I pray that the Lord gives you the boldness to SPEAK UP AND GET OUT! This world needs advocates. Someone who can speak on behalf of those who may not have the strength to get out before it’s too late. Will you be her? Will you be him?
God’s peace and blessings to you!