Fleeing Domestic Violence
Do you remember a particular point at which you realized that you were
in an abusive relationship? If
it was dangerous, can you remember a point at which you became certain
Read 1 Samuel 20:2.
At first, not even Davidís close friend Jonathan believed
David, but David persisted and enlisted Jonathanís assistance.
Victims may find that some people, even family and those closest
to them, do not believe the abuse, however, they should persist in
developing a network of resource people who will help them.
Read 1 Samuel
David devises a way to test Saul, and enlists Jonathanís help
in carrying it out. Victims are often unsure about what is happening,
and wonder whether the violence will continue, is temporary, or due to
extenuating circumstances. Frequently, abusers will escalate their abuse
when they feel they are being challenged.
David uses this fact to test Saulís intentions and to clarify
the situation. If it is safe
to do so, victims of domestic violence may wish to use the four-stage
process taught by Jesus in Matthew
18:15-17 to confront their
abusers and test their willingness to stop the abuse.
Have you ever found that abuse and attempts at control escalated when
you tried to confront or resist your abuser?
Read 1 Samuel
Jonathan helps David to develop a safety plan before David tests
Saul. Victims of domestic
violence should have a safety plan
in place before taking action or attempting to leave. (There is a safety
plan in the Appendix of this workbook.)
Your local womenís shelter or domestic violence program
can advise you on how to plan for your safety.
Read 1 Samuel
When is it time to leave? When
David sees that he is definitely in danger from Saul, he leaves Saulís
presence. Author Gene
Edwards, in his book A Tale of
Three Kings (Christian Books, 1980), says the aggressor makes the
decision for the victim by his threats and attacks or by giving the
victim cause to believe he intends harm.
Jesus and Paul also escaped rather than allowing
themselves to be abused by people who were out to harm them (Luke
4:28-30 and 9:23-25; Acts 9:23-25 and 14:5-6).
In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus taught that we should stay away from those
who persist in abusing us, after we have made an effort to resolve the
situation. Sometimes a victim needs to stay away from the abuser because
he refuses to get the help he needs in order to stop abusing.
Leaving and seeking safety is not the same as abandoning your
marriage or relationship.
If you had to leave a domestic violence relationship, what precautions
did you take, or wish you took?
What are some ways to notify your abuser of your departure after you
have left, that will help to guard your safety?
If a victim leaves an abusive relationship in order to
stop the abuse, when is it safe to return?
Most abusers are unable to stop abusing on their own.
Professional intervention and much work is usually required.
Domestic violence specialists usually recommend
domestic violence perpetrator treatment programs (not
anger management training or couples counseling) that last at least one
year. Unless an abuser
successfully completes such a program and is no longer exhibiting
abusive behaviors (consistently, for at least 6 months), it is likely
that the abuse will resume once the victim returns to the relationship.
Even if an abuse program is completed there is no guarantee that the
abuse will stop.
|Copyright 2005 Judy Kennedy|