Victims of abuse suffer.
It's a statement everyone can agree with. It's a fact. The problem is that we, Community, make it worse. In our response to abuse, to the sharing of abused people, we worsen the degree of that abuse. This is especially true when it comes to the kind of abuse that doesn't leave broken bones, visible scars, and bruises. When you can't immediately see the effects of abuse, it's possible (even natural?) to try and dismiss it.
In general, your run of the mill abuser is very good at blending in. They look "just like everyone else." Ask anyone who has just found out they lived next to a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy for years and they'll tell you that the abuser was a quiet person, seemed nice, very calm. They talk a good talk, and at least on the surface appear to walk their talk. Their victims certainly see the reality, the horror, the abuse, but they can't talk about it.
We, as a society, are aiders and abettors to the abuser. We make it difficult, almost impossible, for the victim to talk about what is happening to them. When we see a hint of abusive behavior from someone, we question ourselves. "Did I really see that? Surely there must be extenuating circumstances . . . ?" It's a normal reaction. We try not to jump to conclusions about other people, and that's a good thing. That is the same reaction we give, however, when the partner of an abuser comes to us.
If you need help, there are people and places that will do everything in their power to help you. Though this list is not exhaustive, there are a number of places that can offer solace. In case of any immediate physical abuse or threats to you or your children's lives, please call 911!
- the National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-SAFE / 1-800-799-7233 (provides web-based and telephone help)
- Bridges - domestic and sexual violence support in New Hampshire - 603-883-3044
- the NH Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Violence - (the website has phone numbers for domestic and sexual violence and also helps people find a crisis center near them)
- Alcoholics Anonymous - if alcohol has been a part of the problem, AA may be able to help. Contact their General Offices in your area for more information
For more on this topic, and the rest of this article by Rev. Allyson, please visit her article on her blog!
If you're interested in learning more about prayer, or reading about local prayer events in Keene and the surrounding area, follow Rev. Allyson on her blogs, The Temple of Joy and RevAllyson Interfaith Minister. If you have any comments or questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments below, or by e-mailing Rev. Allyson at email@example.com.