As I started my research for No Visible Scars, I had plenty of material to draw from. One out of four women live in destructive relationships. This includes women whose husbands are corporate executives, church leaders and elected officials.
Abused women live within every possible demographic.
Yet we don’t always connect abuse with violence.
Everyone will admit it is wrong to hit a woman. We recoil from the bruises and the broken jaws depicted on television. We may weep when a gurney silently leaves a house, the sheet covering a dead body.
But we forget how violence often begins with a subtle type of abuse:
- Shame / blame
- Making fun of her beliefs
- Calling her names
- Put downs about her appearance, her clothing, her cooking, her politics, her hobbies
- Controlling her finances
- Demanding submission
- Forceful sexual advances
- Withholding affection
- Snooping in her mail or purse
These were some of the early symptoms Abigail experienced in No Visible Scars. Yet she didn’t realize and didn’t want to admit she was living in a destructive relationship.
She finally learned the truth when a group of women gathered around her and helped her learn about setting healthy boundaries. Even then, she had to continue to find her courage and boldly step into a new life.
Here’s how Abigail describes it: “I was afraid of him, but I was more afraid of the unknown, of what I would do without him, of who I could become. Afraid to be without the security of his money. Afraid because I didn’t know how my life might change.”
Fear is one of the big factors why women don’t leave. And their abusers know how to feed that fear with manipulation, threats, even guilty gifts to convince her to stay.
Check out this video to learn more.
Sometimes we don’t pay that much attention to the needs of these victims. We become desensitized by all the violence and pain we see on television. Or we think it will never happen to anyone we know.
But these women are sitting next to us at church and working in the next cubicle. They are standing in line at the grocery store, gritting their teeth because he only gave them a small amount of cash for food and they know their children will be hungry.
They are women in our families although we may not want to admit it. And if we continue to ignore the problem, they will become the next generation of victims – our daughters and granddaughters.
How can we share hope with victims of domestic abuse? Believe them. Support them. Help them find a way of escape. Stop denying the problem or keeping the dirty secret.
And we can teach our sons to respect women, vote for leaders who stand up for women, train our daughters how to set healthy boundaries.
October is the month for Domestic Violence Awareness. How are you going to share hope with a woman you know is being abused?
©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
No Visible Scars is now discounted on Amazon and Kindle. Order it today, then share a copy with a woman you know who is living in danger.