Every now and then our radio broadcast covers a topic that breaks my heart.
This is one of them.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month here in the U.S., so we’re gearing today’s and tomorrow’s programs toward creating awareness about domestic violence and offering information and hope to those who may be suffering abuse themselves.
Some of our listeners might be thinking, “Why would Focus be talking about a subject like this on Christian radio?” Well, the sad truth is, domestic violence happens within the Christian community as well, so we need to talk about it openly and honestly.
As you may be aware, most abuse is perpetrated by men against women. Women can be the aggressors, too, but, statistically, it’s men who are much more likely to act violently toward their wives or girlfriends.
Domestic violence is often too narrowly defined as physical abuse. That may come as a surprise to many. Abuse in the home usually doesn’t begin with physical acts of aggression. It tends to start out much more subtly.
Abusers are often quite charming at first. They may conduct themselves in ways that make others believe they are everything you could hope for in a mate. But, slowly and surely, their true character comes out, and you begin to realize that they’re a different person than what you first perceived them to be.
That’s why the full spectrum of domestic violence includes emotional and psychological manipulation where one person in a relationship exercises power and control over the other person.
It’s called the “cycle of violence.” It’s a pattern where the abuse begins as verbal or emotional manipulation and perhaps becomes physical later. It starts with things like consistent, unfounded jealousy and escalates to behavior like trying to isolate you from friends and family. The subtle manipulations become more intense until you’re trapped in a relationship over which you feel you have absolutely no control.
That’s how it happened for our guest on our next couple of programs, Doris Rivera-Black. Her abusive husband’s manipulation was subtle, even easy to rationalize at first. But things soon got more and more controlling.
He wanted her to be employed in the same company as him. Later, at another job she worked, he brought her flowers, coffee, or donuts routinely. It eventually became clear these gestures were not signs of endearment but a way to keep track of where she was, what she was doing, and who her coworkers were.
Eventually, as domestic violence usually does, it escalated to extreme behavior, including talk of suicide, threats to hurt her family members, and sexual abuse.
She eventually separated from him and got a restraining order. But often the most dangerous time for women is when they try to leave their abusive mate. In Doris’ case, her spouse stalked her and kidnapped her at gunpoint one night after work.
On our two-part program, “Finding Hope in the Midst of Domestic Violence,” she’ll share how she escaped and how the Lord used these events to draw her to Him in a renewed way.
Her story is dark, but it’s also one of powerful hope and forgiveness. The Lord has redeemed what the enemy meant for her harm.
Maybe you’ve encountered the horror of domestic violence, and you’re wondering if it really is possible to find true healing. Doris wants to assure you that it is. She says, “I am a living, walking example of what God can do in your life, how He can transform you and fully heal you. I’m not saying partly healed. I’m not saying three-fourths of the way healed. He has 100 percent redeemed me.”
Doris Rivera-Black is an author, speaker, and an advocate for women who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. As you’ll hear, her story is riveting and powerful, but also difficult for her to share. You’ll appreciate her willingness to open up her heart for our microphones so vulnerably in order to help others who may be in a similar situation.
If Doris’ story hits close to home, and you’ve been too scared to acknowledge what’s going on to anyone, or you don’t know where to turn, please give us a call at 800-A-FAMILY. That’s 800-232-6459. We want to help equip you with what you need to know to protect yourself and to take appropriate action.
We have resources that can assist you. Our counselors are ready to hear your story, pray with you, and to offer you helpful guidance. We also have a free “Play It Safe” guide, available for download online, that offers you practical instructions for understanding and getting away from a domestic violence situation.
So contact us today. Please don’t put it off any longer.