It still breaks my heart. Tonight, I’m praying for all those recovering from domestic violence, and for those still trapped in it…both the victims and the abusers.
Let’s pray for them together.
I’ve had some time to think since my last post on the domestic violence that I witnessed, and I feel like it warrants a follow-up. Stick with me here…it’s not as long as it looks…
Many people responded to my post on Facebook, this blog, and in person. Most of them said that I made the right decision, that you have to be careful not to put yourself in harm’s way, and that I could have gotten hurt if I had intervened. And in general, they were right.
Based on my life experiences, I don’t think that I’ll make the same choice again.
I grew up in a home plagued by domestic violence. I experienced some directly, but watched my mom take the brunt of it. It was hell on earth. It still is hell on earth, sometimes, even though it’s not happening any more. The effects of domestic violence reach far beyond the time they occur.
It has been interesting for me to stop and think about the emotions that I felt. First, there was a suffocating fear. Like my heart was being squeezed to the point of pain, and all the air gone from my lungs. I felt the blood drain from my face, and felt the feeling powerlessness that was all too familiar as a child. The feeling of not being able to stop the horror unfolding in front of me. Then came the adrenaline: the urgency to call the police, the attention to every detail, the need to get someone to help. Finally, the fury. I was not only mad for her, but mad for myself, for my mom, for other women I know who have been abused, and for all the women I don’t know. There is a righteous fury that survivors of domestic violence hold inside of them…one that isn’t generally seen until provoked. It was that righteous fury that made me wish I had intervened.
And honestly, so what if I end up with a black eye, a broken arm? Wounds heal. I know that stepping in would neither cause the abuser to immediately drop to his knees and repent, nor empower the woman to stand up and walk away. More likely, she would simply go back home and refuse to press charges, and the cycle would continue. BUT, if for just one minute, she stopped and thought that someone loved her…stopped to wonder why a stranger would stop to get involved, that could be seed enough for a change down the road. A seed that I hope would eventually point to Christ, and the unimaginable love that he gives.
Yes, there are risks involved. But having LIVED in domestic violence, the risks are totally worth it. Some women never feel empowered enough to leave. Some men are never questioned. I don’t think I can save the world. I don’t feel like I need to intervene. For me, it’s just the right thing to do. I’ve spoken with other survivors who feel the same.
Christ’s love compels Christians to share with others, on account of the forgiveness, grace and mercy He gives. It’s an undeniable, uncontainable joy, and they are compelled to share that with others.
Similarly, living through domestic violence compels the survivor to make a difference in the lives of women living through it now. They know the taste of freedom, and cannot stand to see another woman still in bondage.
I’ve lived in Glenwood for four and a half years now. I know domestic violence happens here. I’ve heard about it. I’ve heard it. I’ve seen the effects of it.
Tonight, I saw it.
As I rounded the corner of Union Street and Silver Avenue, a man punched a woman in the head, knocking her to the ground. He then continued to threaten her. Less than a minute later, they were both getting back in their car, pulling away.
I wanted to get out and help her. But, fear of getting hurt myself kept me in my car. I pulled over and called the police, keeping an eye on them the whole time. Of course, the couple left long before the police even started their cars.
As I pulled away, fury set in. I wish I had gotten out of the car. Screamed. Yelled. Fought. Done something to help her. I don’t care if I would have been hurt.
In the end, I know the “smart” decision was to stay in the car. But at this moment, I regret it.
I hope she’s alright when they get home.
I posted recently about the feeling of unrest I have sensed in the neighborhood. It’s amazing how you can sense the demons that are at work here. Since that post in October, things have only gotten worse. I wish I could describe the feeling that I have, but I guess we’ll just leave it at discernment. It’s sort of like a blanket of sadness…you just know that things aren’t right. There’s a sense of grieving there too, although not for one specific person. Instead, it’s for hundreds of people. It’s grieving about life, rather than death.
Since the last post, Marshall and I had our tires slashed over Thanksgiving. No reason that I know of as to why, other than an attempt by Satan to discourage us. There have been two shootings this week, the first was a young woman who was shot in “rear end,” and thankfully only had minor injuries. The second was a man who died as a result of his injuries (in the article, he’s the one who was shot on Gregory St). Just before Thanksgiving, one of the boys I have spent time with in the past was shot, most likely as a result of gang violence. While he’s not in our direct neighborhood, he’s less than a mile away.
So, now I am asking you to please pray. Pray for our neighborhood, pray for the safety of the people who live here. Pray that the Lord would shower love on the men and women who would do evil. I don’t want them to leave, I want them to be transformed. And I believe it can and will happen. Please join us in praising God for our neighbors, and praising Him in advance for the amazing change that is to come in Glenwood.