DV and Me
I became a counselor because I love helping people find their way. Better yet, because people already know the way, I just like helping them to actually see the path that’s hidden in plain sight. We were told in our counseling training to determine a focus, a niche I guess you could call it. Some wanted to focus on children, others the elderly, some wanted to deal with young women or men, while I wanted to deal with marriage. Marriage ministry was that thing I did for free and that the thing I did and forgot to eat and sleep.
I saw myself as the marriage guru traveling the world helping to heal marriages that were on the rocks, and enhancing those that weren’t. Well, then reality set in.
I began getting clients who were so far gone, they were justifying extra-marital relationships, and making me feel like I had the problem for suggesting it could be a problem. For others, the relationship had become so visceral all they could do is hurl insults at one another in the name of love. Then came the abuse. I was not ready for it, nor did I want to deal with it, but it came with a vengeance so I had to face my area of weakness.
I should add I always said “I am not the counselor for DV”.
My transparent moment: I thought abusers were cowards and victims were weak women who didn’t really want to be helped.
I hate the way it sounds coming out, but sadly that was what I believed. I also thought this was a thing of the past because women of today would never stand for it. God had to show me the up close and personal of it to shut me up.
One of the strongest women I know became a victim. I mean old school victim like the scars were evident and she still refused help. Victim to the point where she was so defensive, I began to question if I was wrong for believing he was wrong for putting his hands on her.
I was immediately snapped into reality when I felt the helplessness of trying to help someone who didn’t want it, or worse, didn’t even realize she needed it. What do I do? Where do I go? How do you help when the victim is unaware or unwilling to admit it’s happening?
This was the beginning of my change.
I first have to repent for being a hired helper who was not willing to help in all areas.
I repent for judging the victim.
I repent for not loving on the brokenness in the women (and men) who find themselves in these circumstances
And I ask God to help me to minister to this issue much like I minister to the others so happily and with passion and purpose.
Notice I didn’t repent of my anger for the abusers. I realize they too are broken and need ministered to, but I’m too angry to be the one to do it (#SorryNotSorry).
To the victims I implore you to get out now. I realize that falls on deaf ears as I see story after story of victims dying at the hands of their abusers, but I will still cry loud and spare not. GET OUT NOW!
To the abusers I implore you to get help and man up for a change.
To the children. I pray God blot out your memory so you remember the pain no more. I also pray you are never tempted to repeat the behavior.
As for me and my house we will fight for victims of domestic violence to heal hearts and save lives. I have to admit this is not my new niche, as I have a lot of work and training to do to get there. It is however my new cause, and I will find as much help for victims as I can.
If you find yourself in a situation you can’t break free of I have attached a few resources to possibly help you see the light in the midst of this darkness:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Pittsburgh Domestic Shelters
- The Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
- The Crisis Center North
- The Center for Victims
As always, to close I will allow the Word of God to have the final say:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25, NIV).
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18, NIV).