Abused women are just like you: they have the same hopes and dreams, the same feelings, the same ability to love, to hate, to feel happiness and sorrow. Some are rich, others are poor. Many are white, others are black, yellow, brown. Some are older, some younger. Some are married, others single. Some are born and bred country girls, others successful city women. Some work, some are stay-at-home moms.
None of this matters. What does matter is this: Somebody is playing with their lives, taking them down to destruction. Someone, likely a husband or a boyfriend, is treating them with indescribable cruelty.
The difference between you and them is likely as simple as this: you are loved and cherished by your beloved and they aren’t. The fault isn’t theirs. No one deserves to be abused. No one. Just like you, these women once had hope; just like you, they once dreamed of their own “happily ever after” but those dreams are silent now. Instead, the voice of one once trusted now rules their life with fear. A once loved and cherished voice now vilifies and brings condemnation.
The voice of a husband who vowed before God to cherish and protect now coldly controls and strikes fear into her heart: that’s an abused woman’s truth.
Maybe they are raped in their beds. Perhaps called upon to perform acts unspeakable or face punishment if they don’t. Sodomy, painful and vile, can make bedtime a time of nightmares that are real.
For some abused women, bruises, cuts, broken bones are their norm. Some are beaten and left to die. Others only wish for death.
Some live their entire lives in the vale of crushed and broken hearts and minds, constantly failing to measure up to a man’s demands–often a man who wishes to see them fail so he can find yet one more excuse to punish them.
Some of these women do without the things that you consider most important. Many don’t have proper clothing, proper housing, proper food or medical care.
Others are forcibly separated from family and much loved friends.
Yet, no matter how they suffer, no matter what they do without, their own suffering is nothing compared to how they hurt watching their children be abused.
Some of these abused women are sitting in your churches pews every Sunday morning. Others are your neighbor, your grocery clerk, your co-worker.
Abuse is real. It’s ugly. It’s mean and it’s cruel. Abuse kills: Sometimes by blows, often by words so horrible the spirit withers and dies.
I know of abuse: I’ve lived it. I have several friends who have lived it. My mother lived it. Some estimates say one in three women in the world live it.
So why do you choose to ignore it?
Many abused women would leave and flee to safety but they can’t: They have no money, no connections, no one to turn to, often no one who believes them. This is often true even among Christians. Pastors and church folk are notorious for ignoring the obvious, disbelieving the abused woman’s truth and sending her back into the pit with admonitions to “submit more”. Submission in a God-honoring marriage is a wonderful thing; submission in an abusive marriage just leads to more abuse. Don’t believe it if you don’t want to but it’s true–look into the statistics. And, before you discount this, answer this question: Would Jesus have told a woman to go back to her husband just so he could kill her? You might be her only hope–if you are willing to go out on a limb and listen to her story, believe her story and act on that belief. If you are willing to protect her. This isn’t about your views on divorce; this is about her life being in danger.
But will you do that? Will you believe her? It might not be easy. Who really wants to believe that someone we know is abused? Who really wants to believe that some guy we trust beats, sodomizes and verbally abuses his wife? It’s easier to ignore it, to refuse to believe the stories told in hushed tones, to pretend it isn’t happening and go on as if everything is normal. That kind of normal, if it goes on long enough, just might get her killed.
Many women I know presently live with, or have lived with, abusive husbands. You know of some too, you just may not realize it–yet.
But now you’ve been told they are there. Now you’ve been cautioned to look, to listen, to believe. The question now is: What are you going to do with this knowledge? You can turn away and pretend you don’t know; you might be successful at that–but then, what will you tell Jesus on Judgment Day? That you didn’t know it was happening–when you’ve just been told that it is? You might pass off the onus to someone else by saying, “Well, I’d help if needed but I don’t know anybody who is abused”. One out of three women is abused at some point in her life–you know somebody; you just aren’t looking for the signs or you’re not familiar with the signs. You can get familiar; there are books you can read, blogs you can visit, websites you can frequent or you can just open yourself up to listening to the abused woman, to believing her stories of abuse and step out of your comfort zone in order to protect and defend her. You are needed far more than you know.