Verbal and Physical Abuse

A big issue in our society today is that of abuse. According to the US Department of Justice, 25% of women have experienced domestic abuse. Every year there are 960,000 incidents of domestic abuse reported in the United States. Of these women are victims 85% of the time and men 15% of the time. There are typically two kinds of abuse, emotional and physical. On average, 4 women and 3 children die everyday as a result of domestic violence.

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional or verbal abuse is victimizing someone through making negative statements meant to define the victim or by withholding responses and not apologizing or retracting the statements.
When people call others names, use words to shame them, yell and scream at others regularly, use threats, blame the victims (this is your fault), and dismiss the feelings of the victim, the person is verbally abusive.

People who are emotionally/verbally abuse may tell their victims what to do and what to wear, use online communities to control or humiliate the victim, start rumors about the victim, and/or stalk the victim.

What is physical abuse?

Physical abuse occurs when someone inflicts pain, injury, or any other physical suffering onto another person.

This can involve pushing, kicking, biting, throwing things, slapping, pushing or pulling, using a weapon, or preventing someone from getting away.

What does the Bible say about abuse?

The Bible teaches that we are not to perform malevolent acts of violets against others or abuse them.

It promotes love and respect as being key elements of healthy relationships.

2 Timothy 3 tells us to avoid abusive people. 2 Timothy 3:2-5: “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
Husbands are told to love their wives and to be understanding towards them.
Colossians 3:18-21: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the
Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
1 Peter 3:7: “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
God does not look upon those who love violence with favor.
Psalm 11:5 “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
We are to be slow to anger.
James 1:19-20: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
God strengthens those who are afflicted and abused.
Psalm 10:17-18: “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

What do I do if I am being abused?

Get Away and Get Help!!! No person deserves to be abused. No person needs to remain subjected to abuse. If the person who is abusive is willing to get help, you can try to reconcile, but not until the person can show evidence of change.

What do I do if someone I know is being abused?

Look for an opportunity to share your heart with the victim. Offer to help the victim get help. Pray for God to reveal the nature of the situation to the victim so that he or she does not dismiss the reality of the situation.

Should victims of abuse stay married?

I have heard many say that adultery is the only biblical grounds for divorce. But what Jesus actually says is unfaithfulness. This certainly includes adultery, but I believe the term can be a bit broader in meaning. One who abuses a spouse is certainly not honoring, protecting, or loving the spouse. The person is not putting the spouses needs above his own, and the person is purposefully inflicting harm on another. I do not believe that God expects victims of spousal abuse to remain in the relationship. They have every right to leave. However, I do recommend counseling and attempts to reconcile if the abuser is willing to change and agrees to seek help. Though it is still recommended that the victim be removed from the situation until evidence of change is visible. This is a delicate situation.

Finding Help

If you are being abused or you know someone who is being abused, seek help. Several cites that can help with this are as follows:

http://www.loveisrespect.org/  (Love and Respect)

http://www.thehotline.org/ (The National Domestic Violence Hotline)

For more on protecting yourself, visit:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm (Help Guide)

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