We’ve seen her story in current events. Gabby Petito, dead at 22. Obviously involved in an abusive relationship.
No matter who hit whom or who started the argument, Gabby did not deserve to be murdered.
Yet this is sometimes the result of an abusive relationship. It does not end well. Even in such relationships that do not end in a homicide, the victim’s soul is killed.
She learns how to step back, how to be quiet, how to never press charges, how to stay and somehow endure. Until it’s too late.
And the saddest part is that the signs are evident. Symptoms of domestic abuse include:
- Controlling behaviors
- Teasing and Name-Calling
- Hostile anger
- Ignoring / the Silent Treatment
- Destroying Objects
- Emotional detachment
- Jokes about her / Degrading her in public
- Threatening to Leave
- Guilty gift-giving
- Demanding submission
- Playing mind games / gaslighting
- Making her ask for money
- Constantly checking on her
- Using the Bible or religious traditions to put down women
These behaviors happen in all sorts of homes, even with couples who seem happy and devoted to each other. People who know better.
But victims are caught in the cycle. They deny it or refuse to see the truth, because the consequences are too risky. Fear controls the emotions.
Then a victim’s face shows up on the nightly news — like Gabby telling the officers what happened, but still covering up for her abuser.
Then a body covered by a white sheet is rolled on a guerney — on its way to the morgue. And another abusive killer gets away.
One out of four women live in some type of destructive relationship. That is the truth.
So what can we do about this travesty?
- Teach your daughters about the symptoms of abuse.
- Teach your sons how to treat their sisters, their mother — all women.
- Be alert for the danger of abusive symptoms.
- Speak up and refuse to deny what is happening.
- Do not protect abusers.
- Check out Leslie Vernick, her books and her website: https://leslievernick.com/
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Abuse might be happening in your family, your neighborhood, your church.
It needs to stop.
©2021 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Should Abigail commit a crime? Nothing terrible. Just enough to get her locked up. Far away from her destructive marriage. Check out her story in No Visible Scars.
A timely article.
Yes, unfortunately true.
October brings awareness to many issues. I did read about Gabby. It showed up in my newsfeed in a couple of places. So sad. I also read another article this morning about someone who lived through terrible abuse and who is going through PSTD. Thank you for your novel bringing this to light as well.
Yes, so many issues to think about in October and be aware of how we can help – how we can pray. Thanks for the comment.
Sad, but true!
RJ – Thank you for continuing to bring awareness to domestic abuse. If you and your blog followers have Netflix, I highly recommend watching the limited series titled “Maid”. It tackles domestic abuse on all its levels: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and financial.
Great idea! Thanks, Shanna.