(Photo by Selma Komisky)
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS CONTENT FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY
For the Broken
By Mike Komisky
From the time of the Old Testament to our modern-day society, women have been treated as subservient to men. They are pictured as having no rightful opinion, never treated equal and only robots who do their master’s command.
The role of a woman was to take care of the house, then kids and then pamper their husband’s every need. They were unappreciated and didn’t get any respect that was rightfully due to them. Instead of being cherished as the Bible says, husbands belittle them in the form of verbal, emotional, physical violence.
In T.V. shows in the 1950’s such as the Honeymooners, where Jackie Gleason played the character Ralph Kramden, portrayed men as “The King of their Castle.” His wife, Alice Kramden, would often bear the brunt of Ralph’s insults. In I Love Lucy , starring Desi Arnaz as a male chauvinist, Cuban, macho bandleader Ricky Ricardo who would intimidate his wife and yell at Lucy (Lucille Ball). That made her afraid addressing him as “yes, sir.” He spanked her at times and talked down to her character as being dumb––never letting her get into his show business acts but instead to remain at home and mother his children.
In the 1970’s sitcom All in the Family, Carroll O’Connor played character Archie Bunker: a World War II veteran, blue-collar worker, and foul-mouthed family man who verbally assaulted His meek wife Edith (Jean Stapleton). A modern-day film, Enough (2002, drama /thriller) portrays a waitress named Slim (Jennifer Lopez), her husband, Mitch’s, abusive behavior forces her to go on the run, where she learned to fight for life back. In Sleeping with the Enemy (1991 thriller/drama), Laura Burney (Julia Roberts) leaves Cape Cod and moves to Iowa, where she adopts a new identity to get away from her violent husband.
These films depict the horror of domestic violence and the effects it has on women. Unfortunately, I too am familiar with the background, so I would like to share my story about domestic abuse in my home and how it shaped my life to this day.
My mom and dad grew up in the same neighborhood in the 50s in New York City and were childhood sweethearts. Every woman craves romantic love, and my mom thought she found her prince charming. He was the very popular, handsome guy on the block, yet little did my mom realize what a terror my dad would become.
My earliest memories of childhood were fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. I can vividly remember like yesterday my dad physically assaulting my mom––insulting her in a rage––and my mom crying out for help. This, sad to say, is very classic of a wife batterer. This is domestic violence.
Now, before I go any further, I understand this is a very sensitive subject that is rarely addressed in our churches today. Jesus never, and I repeat NEVER intended for women to be punching bags or be threatened with their lives by men.
My father was a narcissist who never apologized for his actions. He was a chronic alcoholic who was self-centered and used his hands to control and punish my mom. He had all the characteristics of an abuser:
- Criticism: He would chip away at my mom’s self esteem
- Name Calling: He would use sarcasm to put my mom down
- Blame Shifting: He would blame others for his behaviors
- Threats: He would frighten her into submission
- Accusations: He was jealous and envious of whoever she talked to
Domestic violence is any violent or aggressive behavior within the home. Statistics say that on the average, nearly twenty people per minute are physically abused. One in three women and one in nine men suffer severe violence. This includes slapping, pushing, shoving, choking, grabbing, throwing objects at their victim, etc.
On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to the domestic violence hotline. One in fifteen children are exposed to domestic violence each year, which causes trauma. Now, research is finding that children that have been exposed to such violence are getting PTSD (post-traumatic stress). These are very sobering information, and statistics that show how prevalent this is in our society.
Another question that comes up frequently is, “Why don’t women just leave their husbands or boyfriend if they are hurting them? This is a question I myself used to contemplate. How could my mother put up with all of my father’s garbage? And the answer is a vicious cycle occurs. This keeps the victim in bondage with a feeling of helplessness.
According to Not to People Like Us by Susan Weitzman, PH.D. (pg.48 ):
The First Stage is the Tension Building Stage––pressure mounts up in the household during daily interactions with their spouse or partner. Verbal character assassinations begin.
The Second Stage is the Explosive Stage––destructive behavior starts to occur, or physical violence erupts.
The Third Stage – Honeymoon Stage––abuser is contrite, loving and engaging in order to soothe the woman’s feelings. But when tension builds, it starts all over again.
Sad to say, most women are or have been on this roller-coaster of emotions. They feel like no way of escape exists, and they have no resources to go to for help.
Let’s return to my personal story after my mom feared for our safety. She courageously left with me in her arms and never looked back. She finally filed for a divorce. As a side note, I would like to say although I was a young child at the time, the anxiety and fear remained with me growing up. So, although my dad never laid a hand on me, it still affected my life emotionally. So, those with children, don’t ever try to dismiss or downplay your child’s trauma. It’s very real, and children need to share their feelings and fears; what they actually experienced. In other words, the violence just doesn’t affect you but whoever lives within the same household.
Therefore, when I was a teenager, I thought everything was behind us. But my single mom like most women fell into the trap of dating other abusive men. Which I couldn’t understand and made me have a lot of feelings of anger. I would continue to see my mother brutally beaten time and time again. As a teen, it broke my heart, and I felt so helpless to come to her rescue. As I grew up into a young adult, we both found Christ, and He became our answer. This is when all violence ended.
Now, some may say, “That doesn’t happen in the church.” That’s not true. In order to stop the silence, let’s tackle some common myths concerning the issue that people believe but are not true.
According to ChristianityToday….
- It doesn’t happen in Christian homes.
- Submission will solve the problem of abuse. (this is unbiblical)
- It’s the woman’s fault––she is not acting like a good Christian wife.
- If an abuser says he is sorry, the relationship should be reconciled.
CBN News reported that only 65% of all pastors spoke one time about domestic violence in the church. I feel churches and pastors everywhere need to start openly discussing this subject with the body of Christ. Although I am not a pastor, I am a concerned survivor. I pray that more leaders in the church would share biblically, shedding light on this sensitive topic, and give hope through God’s Word. I hope they wouldn’t limit this to church service but provide additional resources to talk about these issues, educating women and men alike.
In closing, women need to know that help is available. You can look on the domestic violence hotline for more information.
For men who struggle with abusive tendencies, know there is no life that God can’t change. My prayer is that you would repent, seek recovery, and walk with God.
For the broken, you need to know you are not alone. Jesus cares about you and your situation. Seek help and above all, get safe. Please know that domestic abuse doesn’t have to be a part of your future.