Hope Finds Her Words

The communications rep from the White House began her statement with, “When we saw the pictures….”

abused woman - hidingShe referred to the black eye suffered by Rob Porter’s ex-wife. Displayed across news channels and social media sites, we all saw the extent of the domestic violence against Jenny.

Yet for those of us who work with women, we know physical violence is often the final humiliation.

The benchmarks of abuse occur much earlier, often with no indication that the end result will be a black eye.

  • Subtle put-downs about her weight or her hair-do.
  • The demand to “Submit!”
  • The control of finances, so she has to beg to buy a decent pair of underwear.
  • The dig in her ribs if she expresses her opinion about anything.
  • Calling her “My woman,” as if she is a piece of property he has purchased.

All these red flags represent emotional abuse and often are so subtle, the wife wonders if she misunderstood. Is she crazy? Or is he so skilled at manipulation, he can make her feel it is all her fault?

One out of three women live in destructive relationships. A particularly insidious type of abuse is called “gas-lighting.” Check out Leslie Vernick’s site for more information.

After all the stories I have heard and the women I have held as they cried, my emotions have become a bit jaded. Jenny’s black eye did not surprise me.

Often the men who abuse are outstanding citizens, hard workers, faithful church members. They seem to be such “good men.”

What disturbed me most was that Jenny’s truth was not believed until pictures were shown. Her voice was not heard until there was viable proof. Why not?

Surely the #MeToo movement is teaching us we must listen to children who tell us something is wrong at school, in the gym, in the youth group—no matter how hard it is to believe.

We must also expand our response to women such as Jenny. She was the second ex-wife abused by this man. Reports had been filed by both women. Those in authority knew the truth yet refused to act on it—until they saw the pictures—until ALL of us saw the pictures and demanded accountability.

Hope begins to flicker for the Jenny’s of the world as we listen to their voices and give them permission to share their truth. Surely we can learn how to believe them and help them find a safe haven where they can heal and start over.

Even before we see the incriminating pictures, we must err on the side of caution. Because women are made in the image of God. Because our daughters live in relationships and we want them to be heard. Because all of us have a voice that needs to be respected.

Hope has spoken her truth. So has Jenny. Who is listening?

©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

In March, 2018, “No Visible Scars” will be released. This is my 10th book, a novel about domestic abuse within a Christian home. Share my blog posts with your friends and be the first to read “No Visible Scars.”

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What’s the Difference

Have you wondered about the difference between a memorial and a monument?

During the winter of 1995, we toured Washington, D.C. My son and I stood in freezing drizzle as we waited for the Metro subway, then we joined a line of shivering tourists outside the White House. In spite of the weather, excitement traveled with us as we experienced the aura of our nation’s capitol.

We strolled through each floor of the Smithsonian and marveled at the artifacts of ancient history. We ate the famous bean soup in the Senate cafeteria and munched on bagels in the delis. We walked somberly through the white crosses at Arlington Cemetery and read every word of the original Constitution.

While touring the Washington Monument, we learned the difference between a monument and a memorial. Monuments are structures which honor someone or some noble cause. The Washington Monument honors our first president, George Washington.

Lincoln_Memorial_(Lincoln_contrasty)A memorial, such as the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, contains the image of the person for which it is named. Jefferson stands at attention in his memorial. Lincoln sits in a sculptured chair, his immortal words forming an arc around him. http://www.nps.gov/linc/index.htm

As I think about that vacation, I realize my own memorial lies within the soul cavern where God resides. I bear the image of the Almighty One, Emanuel, God with us.

Even when I miss my mother and hate the Alzheimer’s that destroys her mind, a morsel of hope hides within me. God plays spiritual peek-a-boo with my soul.

Even when I feel alone, I do not live in oblivion. God creates a heavenly purpose and sculpts his perfection in me.

Lessons learned. Scars healed.

I place my very self in the safest possible hands—in the omniscient palm of my loving Father. He alone creates in me an eternal memorial.

Hopefully, the memorial of my life reflects the origin of its Light.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1