Domestic Violence: A Christian Feminist’s View

November 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm 6 comments

Lithography. Drunk father.

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Domestic violence is neither a pretty nor a funny topic. People get hurt and get killed. Hilarious!

Domestic violence includes emotional abuse, sexual abuse, economic abuse, physical abuse, intimidation, stalking, and birth control sabotage. Perpetrators isolate their victims, preventing them access to family, friends and coworkers who might be able to help them. They prevent their access to money and sabotage their access to family planning methods because they know that a dependent child will also make it more difficult to leave.

Why do they do it? It’s most likely a combination of factors as varied as the people who offend. For most men who are perpetrators control and a sense of male privilege and entitlement are part of the equation.

Anyone can be a victim. It’s not limited to any race, income, education level, religion or geographic area. Anyone. This includes you.

The men’s movement would have you believe that it’s a pretty equal scenario. Men are victims of domestic violence more often than women. It’s just unreported. That’s a big lie. Statistics can be manipulated. Any statistics can. That’s why when a new study comes out either denouncing or praising some drug our government doesn’t immediately run to jerk it off the shelves or immediately rush to put it on them.

It’s important to look at three different things when you get the results of any study:

1) Who completed the study, and where did the funding come from? You can bet that most studies aren’t “independent.” Someone funded that study, and that someone in most cases has an agenda. The researcher, too, probably has a bias. It’s called a hypothesis that he’s trying to prove.

2) Are there other studies on this particular subject matter? How many are there? Do they agree? If not, then just how different are the results? Is the difference enough to make the results unbelievable?

3) What are the methods used to gather the information for the study and to analyze that information? Do other people in the scientific community respect the results of that study based on the methods used?

While I am sure that men’s victimization is certainly under reported, and it sure is sad that that is so, women are the victims of domestic violence at least 2/3 of the time, according to accurate and respected figures on the matter. Women are more likely to be injured or severely injured in a domestic violence situation. Women are more likely to die at the hands of a husband, lover or boyfriend.

It’s never okay for a man or a woman to beat up on a man or a woman. Let’s be clear about this. Gay and lesbian couples also suffer from this epidemic. Heterosexual men are victims, too, and they are probably severely unreported crimes, since men are afraid of being perceived as being a “wimp” or a “pussy.” Something else to take into consideration: women may actually be violent more often than reported currently simply because they are physically weaker than a man and can’t cause as much damage.

It’s especially unfair for a woman to beat up on a man when she knows that he’s been socially conditioned not to return her attack. Good men will walk away or take it because they know that they are usually so much stronger than us that defending themselves will cause some serious damage to a woman. Don’t put a man in this situation. That’s wrong.

In my reading for this piece I found a statistic that said that one in three women will experience violence at the hands of a man some time in her lifetime. More men will be beaten up by men. The difference is that the men who beat them up will probably not be someone who claims to “love” them.

If you are the victim of domestic violence, know that there are people in the world who want to help you. You didn’t do anything to cause the abuse. You can build a new life and a happy one. Your abuser isn’t going to change, and he isn’t sorry. You have to leave. Don’t challenge your perpetrator’s authority. That will escalate the violence. Involve legal authorities if possible. Call the police. Contact a legal aid office. Do leave your abuser, but don’t leave him until all your ducks are in a row. And even then, be especially careful. When a victim leaves a perpetrator, that is the most dangerous time.

On a side note, if you are a Christian woman and you’ve gone for help from your pastor for marital counseling, and your pastor has told you that it’s not Biblical to leave your husband or that you’re required to submit to your husband…that’s just bullshit. Being beaten or raped is not what the Bible meant about submission. God does not intend for you to be abused by anyone, ever. If you need further clarification on that issue, then please read John Shore’s excellent article on the matter:

For further reading on domestic violence and the statistics behind it:

If you yourself need help, then in the United States you can contact the National Domestic Violence hotline at:

1.800.799.SAFE (7233) 1.800.787.3224 (TTY)


Entry filed under: Chrisitanity, Crime, Ethics, Faith, Health, Human Rights, Love, Marriage, Men, Relationships, Sexual Abuse & Assault, Social Commentary, Spirituality, The Holy Bible, Violence, Women's Rights. Tags: , , , , , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Craig Benno  |  November 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Have a read of this research that was done by the Canadian Department of Health…

    Also here is some very good research done in Australia about the misinformation of abuse…

    While I stand against abuse of women, I also stand against abuse of men also… neither is funny…

    • 2. gooseberrybush  |  November 16, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      You’re absolutely right, Craig.

  • 3. Hannah Thomas  |  November 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I will never understand the response of pastors to hurting families. It just goes completely against the spirit of scripture, and to call out sin for what it is. You are to protect the weak, oppressed, etc. You don’t tell them to endure.

    They can speak about some sins as they see it, but BOY do they blow in other areas big time. No man, women or child should be left unprotected, and sent back to endure abuse. Its just plain wrong.

    • 4. gooseberrybush  |  November 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      In all fairness, I think the majority of clergy would probably help a person who was being battered.

  • 5. Batteredbutnotdefeated  |  November 21, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Gooseberrybush, that has not been my experience nor the experience of my abused friends. They sympathize if they believe you, but they minimize the abuse, don’t understand the cycle of violence and give advice that seriously undermines your safety because they don’t believe how dangerous he can be – he just doesn’t present that way.

    I was so grateful once when a pastor got us together and confronted him about his behavior, but then suggested that we go away together. Fortunately it didn’t work out – I really was scared to but I wasn’t willing to disobey my pastor. If anything had happened, the church would have been responsible.

    A friend of mine suffered for many years after leaving her abuser when our pastor, distressed that she chose to leave against his advice, sighed and told her teenage son, “Now you are the head of the household.” That teenage boy abused the mother like the father used to and is a criminal today.

    I could name you many cases. The only pastors I know who have really helped are those who are aware of the dynamics of abuse. And they tell me that some of the people they are helping have suffered unnecessarily at the hands of church leaders who advised them to go back to abusive people they had left.

    Of course, most clergy would help a person being battered – it’s just that they can’t tell if it is staring them in the face.

  • 6. Craig Benno  |  November 21, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    When I told my pastor of the abusive situation I was in; he laughed in my face saying he didn’t believe my then wife would threaten to stab me with a knife.

    When eventually I did separate; I had to live in the back of my van (I was also disabled at the time) and the church turned its back on my… one elder even asked me what I had done to deserve my treatment.

    It’s my experience that the church is not equipped in general to deal with Intimate Partner Abuse. Even more so when it comes to male victims.


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