‘Anyone Can Be an Abuser’ – NNEDV

It’s so true. Not only is the abuser an expert with smoke and mirrors, with a well-crafted and usually long-preserved facade, but the one being abused — because of malignant manipulation and conditioning — is also pretty adept at keeping up pretenses and pretending life is good (even to him- or herself).

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How? Social media posts that highlight only happiness and success. Anecdotes to friends and family that leave out the worst of truths. Assimilation into the community and/or a church family, with behavior that is intentionally presented as morality, peace, false humility, as though there could never be any serious wrongdoing.

But to be educated about statistics and the realities in our homes, in too many homes, we must let go of preconceived notions. We must take a naked look at those around us, without turning a blind eye just because everything looks peachy on the surface-level.

We’re smarter than this! We must believe the victim when he or she finally “wakes up,” begins to disconnect from his/her abuser, and seeks help. This is really important in changing the abusive environments around us. We can’t let ourselves continue to be fooled.

#endabuse #TheNationalNetworktoEndDomesticViolence #NNEDV

Just Say No to ’50 Shades’

Mayim Bialik — yep, of both Blossom and The Big Bang Theory fame — shares a powerful point in an essay, linked below, and that point is why I won’t read or watch the 50 Shades franchise.

To echo one of her sentiments, it’s not my place to judge a consensual relationship that might include some extreme behaviors — if they’re mutual and respectful to those involved — but what’s been pretty clear from the get-go is that what we have here isn’t a fantasy based on adult bedroom behavior, it’s a fictional world built to include psychological abuse (manifested in numerous ways) and sexual coercion.

IMAGINE A PROMOTIONAL MOVIE PHOTO HERE.

BECAUSE I COULDN’T FIND ONE TO SHARE THAT DIDN’T TURN MY STOMACH.

Is fear romantic? How about manipulation and mind games, do those make you swoon? When was the last time you thanked someone for forcing upon you something for which you didn’t give consent?

As one with a history of abuse and a present passion for advocacy, I ask you to think about what message you’re accepting and supporting when you buy the books or sit in a theater, expecting entertainment. #education #advocacy #abuseisabuse #justsaynoto50Shades

Ms. Bialik’s commendable essay can be found on her website GROKNATION.COM.

HERE’S A DIRECT LINK.

You’re welcome.

Dear Church: It’s Time to Stop Enabling Abusive Men

Late last night, the link to an important, powerful article came through my feed on Facebook. The title (used here as my post title, as well) was enough to hook my interest. I’d never consciously thought such a specific thing, but before I even clicked through I knew the author, Gary Thomas, was absolutely right.

I’ve seen it — that enabling — with my own eyes, in my own situation, at my own (former) church. And plenty elsewhere, too.

To read the article in full, click HERE.

But whether or not you feel driven to take in the whole essay, which is approached from a Christian perspective, there are several noteworthy passages that I can’t leave unshared.

“If the cost of saving a marriage is destroying a woman, the cost is too high. God loves people more than he loves institutions.”

“This woman needs to be protected from such grotesque abuse, and if divorce is the only weapon to protect her, then the church should thank God such a weapon exists.”

“When these men aren’t confronted, and aren’t repentant, they don’t change.”

“I want a man who was abusive to have to explain to a potential second wife why his first wife left him.”

Let men realize that behavior has consequences, and that wives are supposed to be cherished, not used, not abused and never treated as playthings. If a man wants the benefit and companionship of a good woman, let him earn it, and re-earn it, and let him know it can be lost.”

This article only scratches a surface. Mr. Thomas approaches the topic as if the men in question might acknowledge their wrongdoing and be honest about circumstances and their behavior. This typically isn’t going to happen with an abuser—especially if the ball is passively left in their court—as there are powerful disorders and distortions at work. He will ignore and hide the truths, even lie about them to avoid any accountability, also paving the way for his continued misbehavior.

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photo borrowed from the original article on ForEveryMom.com

But this writer is absolutely right to call out the church and its leaders, for not confronting their men and for not demanding humility and guiding change, real change. It’s right for this writer to call out the church’s followers, too, who are often too quick to turn a blind eye and make uninformed assumptions, as well as harsh, mislaid judgments toward the women/victims.

Why aren’t we protecting the women, instead siding with the men? Why do we so easily offer blind acceptance when swift consequence is warranted? Why don’t we loudly demand that men own up to their behavior or else?

Awareness and advocacy and education can be so powerful, and those efforts must be present in church homes as much as anywhere else.

I’ve done a lot of research, and therapeutic efforts (we’re talking intense, long-term therapy) for rehabilitation are only successful a scant 10% of the time—and that’s for the few who actually recognize a problem with need for change and put forth authentic effort to begin with. First must come an internal awareness, and those who perpetuate the abuse inherently fight that awareness, day-in and day-out. There is usually no hope, and this is heartbreaking.

These norms and staggering statistics won’t begin to shift until or unless others — whether someone in a position of authority, like clergy or law enforcement, or everyday folk like you and me — begin to call out and hold abusers accountable for their incredible wrongdoing.

Until abusers are told (and told and told and shown) that we aren’t going to allow it anymore, nothing is going to change.