Domestic Violence and Spiritual Abuse
Written by Lydia D’Ross, Ordained Minister and Outreach Chaplain for Renewal at Brookhaven Hospital
According to the Unted States Department of Jutices [USDOJ], Office on Violence Against Women, Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure or wound someone.
Oklahoma is ranked 17th in the Nation for the number of females murdered by men in single offender incidents.[ 2009 data, The Violence Policy Center]
In 61% of domestic violence homicide cases someone else knew of ongoing domestic violence prior to the homicide. [Source: Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, 2011]
- 62% were family
- 50% were friends
- 35% were law enforcement
Some of the contributing factors to any type of abuse are the following: unemployment, depression, mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse, homelessness, prior history and unresolved childhood abuse issues.
While national statistics indicate that one in four females and one in seven males are victimized by a current or former intimate partner, spiritual abuse is a tactic overwhelmingly perpetrated by men against women.
If you are a Christian woman or man in an abusive marriage, you may feel added pressure to stay in the relationship and “work it out.” There are times when Christian beliefs or the Bible might be used to pressure someone to stay in an abusive relationship. You will not find any scriptures that supports spousal abuse or abuse in general, but instead you will find ” Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” [ Romans 8:1] Anyone who is told they must stay in an abusive situation because of their faith is also a victim of spiritual abuse. Although spiritual abuse is found among couples subscribing to all faith-based, philosophical and religious groups, we are finding that spiritual abuse is much more dangerous than physical abuse- as spiritual abuse cripples the inner core of our being.
Jesus left us an example of how we should conduct ourselves as children of God. When there is alcohol or drug abuse involved, there is a higher risk of domestic violence occurrences and reoccurrences.
God cares about you and he does not want you in a situation that is not safe for you or your children.