Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Christianity

Are you perpetuating violent behavior?

God is not okay with domestic violence. God is really not okay with unrepentant abusive behavior. Unfortunately, believers in Christ as a body (not just certain individuals or churches) are doing an extremely poor job addressing this topic. It may be out of discomfort, ignorance, shame, or a number of other reasons. Whatever the reasons may be, they are not sufficient enough to sit by silently while a member of the body is being abused. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is not the only time to stop the violence of silence, every day should be a day to support victims or survivors and to educate the community on the importance of love and respect.

Domestic Violence and Christianity


Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Blaming the NFL and Parental Failure

As October 1st marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we will be taking the time to discuss this important issue. The entire NFL organization has been front and center in the headlines lately as the poster child for “how not to handle domestic violence.” However, while many are blaming the NFL for some of their players abhorrent off-field behavior, very few are mentioning the root cause. It is very unlikely that those who feel entitled to commit physical acts of violence against another person only started to feel that way when they became professional football players. In all likelihood, this sense of entitlement started when they were little league “stars.”

Often, when a child is discovered to be a sports prodigy, everything in his life- and his parents- begins to revolve around making him the best that he can be. It’s not about making him the best person he can be, but the best ball player he can be. Instead of teaching and guiding the child in how to treat people properly, some of the parents of this future millionaires start to view their children as a “come up,” a way out of bad situation, a commodity. There are also those parents who may not go that far, however, they wish to live vicariously through their children. They want their child to achieve what they could not- greatness. In an effort not to upset the “cash cow,” parents and lower level coaches will look the other way when it comes to bad behavior. This parental failure fosters the wrong attitude that the young athlete is untouchable. When he has grown up believing that he can do whatever he wants as long as he performs on the field, it is not too surprising when he grows up to believe that he can do as he pleases off the field.

Abusers don’t just happen overnight, they are often raised that way. For more on this topic, join us for tonight’s episode of Now With Nicole Radio as we discuss “Domestic Violence, the NFL, and Parental Failure.

Watch the Google+ simulcast live.

Domestic Violence Awareness Series Part Three- How Abusers Get Away With It

Three Cover-up Lies the Abused Tell

It is very common behavior for victims to protect, cover-up for, and take the blame for their abuser’s crime. Often, they help the abuser get away with it by telling one or more of the following lies:

  1. The survivor lies and says that the abuser did not do it.
  2. The survivor lies (out of fear, coercion, or love confusion) and says that she started it.
  3. The survivor lies to herself and says that she deserves it.

Partner-on-partner crimes are not just ignored in professional sports. Law enforcement is often hesitant to get involved in domestic disputed. Police officers do not like going to domestic violence crime scenes and members of the court do not like prosecuting them. One of the main reasons is the abused unwillingness to cooperate. Another reason is the abused complicity in covering up the crime.

The aforementioned should be considered in terms of the current discussion regarding Janay Palmer’s attack and what the NFL knew, when the NFL- specifically Commissioner Roger Goodell- know it, and why they come back with a harsher penalty after the second tape was released. In the case of Ray Rice, it is quite plausible that Rice was the instigator; yet, Palmer told NFL officials that she started the fight, but they saw a different story when they viewed the latest tape. This scenario is possible, because Palmer is no different than many other unknown women facing domestic violence who lie for their abusers. Her horror story is just more public.

The increased exposure in high profile cases can make the victim feel that much more protective of her abuser. Nevertheless, the abused rich and famous are not the only ones who enable their partners by covering up their crimes. Your neighbor, co-worker, fellow church friend, sister, mother, or perhaps even you have done the exact same thing. One of the ways we can end abuse is by empowering women to take the first step in freedom- being honest with themselves and admitting the problem.

Previous posts in the Domestic Violence Awareness Series

Part 1- Why Did Janay Palmer Stay? Still Blaming the Victim

Part 2- 5 Things Not to Say to the Abused


The Cover-up: Three Lies the Abused Tell for the Abuser

Domestic Violence Awareness Series Part Two- 5 Things Not to Say to the Abused

“I Would Never….”

Last February, I drafted an article about “What Not to Say to the Abused” during February’s Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. This article was written for women who have girlfriends who are experiencing partner violence. Until today, this article sat in my draft files. Though this is a topic that deserves year-round attention, in honor of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month being right around the corner, it is now being published. If you have a friend or family member who is in a violent relationship, please consider the following:

5 Things Not to Say to a Person Being Abused

1.) “You should respect yourself more than to allow someone to abuse you.” Instead, try saying, ” You deserve to be respected.” By making this change, the abused is not left feeling as if the abuse is her fault because she does not have enough self-respect.  The statement also does not put her on the defensive by feeling you are attacking her partner. Persons suffering abuse can be very protective of their abuser despite how they are being mistreated. It is, therefore, important to choose your words wisely and not put the innocent in a place of offensive.

2.) “Why don’t you leave?” This statement is loaded with judgment and may cause the abused to become defensive and start making excuses for her partner’s behavior.  Try saying, “You are welcome to come to my house today or call me if you ever need a place to stay or help finding one.” This statement does not cast blame on either the abused or the abuser. The victim is more likely to accept your words as coming from concern rather than judgment and open up more to you about her situation. It’s possible she may accept the offer.

3.) “If it were me….” Stop. It is not you, and the sentiment is very likely to be considered as judgmental by the abused.  Along those lines, saying, “If I were you…” and “I would never…,” also should be avoided.

4.) “I know how you feel.” No. You do not know how she feels. Even if you are a victim or, or survivor, of family violence, you will never know exactly how she feels.  While you may say these words out of an attempt to comfort her and show her that you understand, the person on the other side of this comment may be angered by what is taken as an invalidation of her unique experience.  Instead, try saying, “How are you coping with everything?” This is an open-ended question that will allow your friend to express herself more freely.

5.) “It will be okay.” In the eyes of someone being abused, it will never be okay. She cannot see beyond her present reality to a life of peace. Your good intentions aside, when she hears something along these lines, it may cause her to feel resentment and shut down.  Instead, try saying, “I am here. We will get through this together.”

Concern is greatly appreciated, however, be careful with what you say, how you say it, and when you say it. Your good intentions could backfire and cause the abuse victim to shut down. For more information about helping a friend in a violent relationship, contact your local violence prevention advocacy group or 1.800.799.SAFE.

Other posts in the Domestic Violence Awareness Series:

Part 1- Why Did Janay Palmer Stay? Still Blaming the Victim

Part 3- The Cover-up: Three Lies the Abused Tell for the Abuser

5 Things Not to Say to the Abused

Domestic Violence Awareness Series Part One- Why Did Janay Palmer Stay? Still Blaming the Victim

“She Thinks She Can Change Him”

I feel like death after having oral surgery yesterday and being highly medicated. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to write this post in support of all abuse victims. Unfortunately for Janay Palmer Rice, she is the current poster child for domestic violence due in large part to today’s media and being connected with a professional athlete. The sad truth is that had this incident not been caught on tape, she would be another unknown victim.

One of the things that bothers me the most about the commentary is the assumption that she stayed with (and married him) was because she was a gold digger. There may be at least ten other reasons other than her being money hungry. When I look at the picture of Janay and Ray Rice at that joint statement press conference, I don’t see a money chaser, I see someone who looks scared and broken. Given the footage from the elevator, I would not be surprised if she were forced into this relationship.

How do you know that when a woman stays with a rich man it is because she is a gold digger? Perhaps she stayed for the same reason a woman who is with Everyday Joe stays, such as:

1.) Fear for her safety. Some women feel it is safer to stay than to leave. This may seem counter-intuitive to those in healthy relationships, but for the abused, it makes sense. This is especially the case if they tried to leave and suffered harsher violence than when they were together.

2.) Fear for her children’s safety. Her children could have been threatened.

3.) Fear for her family’s safety. Her family could have been threatened.

4.) Fear that the man may kill himself (though he probably won’t) like he said he would if she leaves. This is a common tactic of abusers. They use it to manipulate the victim into believing that she will be to blame if he ends his life.

5.) Desire to keep the family unit in tact. When women with children leave relationships, even when they are dangerous, they are often faced with disdain for breaking-up the family unit. It makes no difference to these outsiders that the family unit was already broken because of the abuse.

Janay Palmer Rice

6.) She has nowhere else to go. If she has no job or money to physically re-locate, the thought of being homeless is less appealing than the thought of having shelter. She can convince herself that the abuse is “not that bad,” if it means she will have a roof over her head.

7.) Lack of emotional support. Many people say that it is none of their business and they do not want to get involved. When this happens, a victim feels as if she is alone and does not know how to seek help to escape the situation.

8.) She was told by someone in the church that it was a sin to leave your spouse. God hates divorce, but it’s okay for your husband to put his hands on you. That’s the message that comes from many in the church- men and women.

9.) She thinks she can change him.

10.) She thinks it is normal based upon her family history. When you grow up with violence, you fail to see how it is wrong. It’s not that you think you deserve it, you just think this is how relationships work. You have no healthy frame of reference.

No matter what the reason, perhaps we should shift the conversation from calling her names and the victim blaming question, “Why did she stay?,” to the statement, “It is not okay for someone to brutalize another person.”

Other posts in the Domestic Violence Awareness Series:

Part 2- 5 Things Not to Say to the Abused

Part 3- The Cover-up: Three Lies the Abused Tell for the Abuser

Why did Janay Palmer Stay? Still Blaming the Victim

Now With Nicole Radio- Josh Gordan Vs. Ray Rice

On Air

Things that Do Not Make Sense

On tonight’s episode of “Now With Nicole”- Josh Gordon’s suspension for marijuana use versus Ray Rice’s 2-day suspension for domestic abuse; adults picking on children; careless, and committing fraud against your spouse or child. If video is not working, please tune- in at

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