Tag Archive | Domestic violence

every statistic has a name and a dear, dear face

back of a woman's headThose of you who read my blog know that I counsel victims of domestic violence.   Every day, these precious women come into my office and tell me their tragic stories.   They have been beaten, throttled, raped, burned, had boiling water poured on them, had their family heirlooms broken in front of them, watched their animals tortured, and have been helpless as they knew their children were witnesses to most of these.

Unless you have walked this road, you have no right – repeat, no right – to criticize or comment negatively in any way.   You have no idea the journey these dear ones have taken, or how hard it is to get off this road.

Well, one of my dear friends has made it!   No longer is she hiding under a pseudonym.   “Ida Mae,” whom many of you have met before in much earlier posts, has come out into the sunshine.   Her divorce from the brute she married will be finalized in two weeks.   My friend’s name is CONNIE.   She is beautiful.   And one day she will show the world her face, when she feels it is time.

Well done, dearest.  So proud of you for crawling on broken glass to freedom.   I am honored to know you.

this is why it matters

remorseful manI had the most amazing telephone call this week while at work.  Normally I would never have answered the phone at that time of day as it was during a session hour, but my client had just called in sick and I was available to respond.

The caller ID said it was from a southern state, one where I knew no one.  When I answered, a man’s voice spoke to me, something that is not part of the ‘daily’  in my practice as my counseling center is only for women.  Occasionally a male doctor or a spouse will call, but this was not a voice I recognized.

He gave his name, and his wife’s name, and shared that I had counseled them briefly, almost two decades before when I worked in another practice and saw marital couples as well.  I had a slight memory of them. He shared that, for a reason unknown to me, he had been looking at my website and had been both struck and convicted by the statistics shown there on domestic violence, because he realized that he had contributed to the statistics.  He was a batterer.

We knew that then.

Somehow they survived.   Somehow they managed to raise a family.   Somehow this man’s wife has had the strength to demonstrate healthy boundaries and yet still has patiently loved him as he has been dealing with the demons of his past, working hard not to pass them on to his children.   This man loves his family.   For all these years he has been working on changing the monster he was.

He called to thank me and, in tears, wanted to bless me for the ministry and the work that I do.

I will never forget that phone call.   This is why it matters.   One person at a time, one family at a time.  There is hope.

twenty miles from nowhere: sinking in the shade

Thanks to two friends who shared electronically with me yesterday morning, I started my day with two powerful songs that I, in turn, would like to share with you.  Thank you, Anna Wood, and Krista.

The first song is called “Twenty Miles from Nowhere” by Marc deRose, about a woman in a domestic violence relationship who is trapped until she makes her decision to leave.   Even if a battered woman lives in a housing project or in a ritzy New York condominium, she can feel twenty miles from nowhere, because no one seems to notice or care.

The second song, “Gratitude” by Nichole Nordeman, describes how hurting people are “sinking in the shade,” that “peace might be another world away,” and how we long for an end to our thirst, for our pain to be quenched.   Listening to these words struck a cord with me, as I was reminded that God’s “providing another way” might be me.  I might be the “other way” for someone today.

Maybe I can be the hands he uses to give someone a cup of water.

We have sisters all around us who feel like they are twenty miles from nowhere, where in all reality they could be living next door and I am only too blind to see.   Lord, help us all see.

wee victims

There are little ones that are victims of domestic violence every day.  They may not bear the scars of physical abuse, but the names they have been called or the abusive words they have been threatened with will stay with them forever.  They cower in closets and hide under beds.   They sing loudly to their teddy bears so that they can’t hear the screaming in the next room.  They’ve seen their mothers lying broken on the floor, or taken on stretchers to the emergency room.  They are the ones that are taken out of their homes and put into the care of strangers who sometimes, sadly, end up being offenders as well.   It happens all too often.   Just ask the now grown children who survived the foster care system.

Not all of us can foster or, like several of my wonderful friends, adopt a child who needs a home.   Every one of us, however, can support our Domestic Violence Shelter financially or with supplies of personal items, like deodorant, toothpaste and soap.   We can crochet a blanket with that leftover yarn that’s been sitting in a drawer, buy a toy, or purchase some new clothing for needy mums and their little ones.   We can speak up at Walmart or in the grocery store when we witness inappropriate behavior towards a child or their parent.  It’s easy to walk down the next aisle, but getting involved, even just a little, tells the victim that someone actually cares.

We can all pray.

a birthday inside

It can’t possibly be February.  After a wonderful breakfast with a dear friend, running errands, and talking with my daughter on my cell phone, I stopped and stood for a minute this morning, shut my eyes and let the sun pour down on my face, drinking in the promise of spring.   This is what freedom tastes like.

With just a little planning, I can rearrange my schedule and get in the car and drive to see my sweet grand babies.  They will welcome me with hugs, kisses and promises of story time.  Tea parties, tutus, fairy princesses and dinosaurs await.  This is what freedom tastes like.

Last month, for my birthday, the number of which will be kept undisclosed, my family and friends gathered around and blessed me with love, amazing cakes, funny cards & cards that made me cry. For days I was gifted by friends near and far, with meals out, phone calls, flowers arriving at my door and Facebook posts from around the world.  I felt celebrated.  This is what freedom tastes like.

Today one of our sisters is having a birthday.   She might be able to stand outside and feel the sun on her face, but her dining experience will be in the prison cafeteria.  She might be permitted to have one phone call from her family.   There may be cards in her mailbox, but chances are there won’t be parcels and fresh flowers delivered.

LaVelma Byrd lives in the penal system in California.   She has been incarcerated since 1994 for killing her husband, literally an act of self defense.  Despite the evidence that indicated that she was a victim of violence at the hands of her spouse, she was sentenced to 25 years in prison.  Along with others with similar stories, LaVelma belongs to Convicted Women Against Abuse, an organization that helps women in prison heal from the abuses done to them, and educates women on the “outside” that there are options available to them apart from living in a domestic violence environment.

You can make a difference.  Send LaVelma your birthday wishes by entering Sin By Silence in the search box on your Facebook page .  Let’s make her day!