WT View of Battered Women

by MrMoe 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • MrMoe
    MrMoe


    Help for Battered Women

    "Maybe This Time He'll Change"

    In this series:
    "Maybe This Time He'll Change"
    Why Do Men Batter Women?
    Help for Battered Women
    Machismo A Global Problem
    Correcting Misconceptions
    "Sometimes I Think I Am Dreaming!"

    Related topics:
    How to Solve Problems Peacefully
    Women What Does the Future Hold for Them?

    ROXANA* is a vivacious, attractive mother of four children, married to a well-respected surgeon in South America. "My husband is charming with the ladies, popular with the men," she says. But there is a dark side to Roxana's mate, one that even their close friends do not see. "At home, he's a monster. He's intensely jealous."

    Roxana's face is etched with anxiety as she continues her story. "The problem began after we'd been married for just a few weeks. My brothers and my mother visited us, and I had such a good time talking and laughing with them. But when they left, my husband violently threw me onto the sofa, wild with rage. I couldn't believe what was happening."

    Sadly, that was just the beginning of Roxana's ordeal, for over the years, she has been battered repeatedly. The abuse seems to follow a predictable cycle. Roxana's husband beats her, then he apologizes profusely and promises never to do it again. His conduct improvesat least for a while. Then the nightmare starts all over. "I keep thinking that maybe this time he'll change," Roxana says. "Even when I run away, I always go back to him."

    Roxana fears that one day her husband's violence will escalate further. "He has threatened to kill me, the children, and himself," she says. "One time he put scissors to my throat. Another time he threatened me with a gun, pointed it at my ear, and pulled the trigger! Fortunately, there was no bullet, but I nearly died from fright."


    A Legacy of Silence

    Like Roxana, millions of women worldwide are suffering at the hands of violent men.# Many of them remain silent about their ordeal. They reason that reporting the matter will prove futile. After all, many an abusive husband has simply denied charges with such statements as "My wife is excitable" or "She tends to exaggerate."

    It is sad that many women live with a constant fear of attack in the one place they should feel the safesttheir own home. Yet, sympathy is all too often shown to the perpetrator instead of the victim. Indeed, some cannot bring themselves to believe that a man who appears to be an upstanding citizen would beat his mate. Consider what happened to a woman named Anita when she spoke up about the abuse she was receiving from her well-respected husband. "One of our acquaintances said to me: 'How can you accuse such a fine man?' Another said that I must somehow be provoking him! Even after my husband was exposed, some of my friends began avoiding me. They felt that I should have put up with it because 'that's the way men are.'"

    As Anita's experience shows, many find it difficult to grasp the grim reality of spouse abuse. What drives a man to be so cruel to the woman he claims to love? How can victims of violence be helped?

    * Names have been changed in this series.

    # We acknowledge that many men are also victims of violence. But studies indicate that women are more likely to sustain injuries that are far more serious. Hence, these articles discuss abuse in which the victim is female.

    The Broad Scope of Domestic Violence

    According to the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the term "violence against women" can refer to "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life." This violence includes, among other things, "physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family and in the general community, including battering, sexual abuse of female children, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women."

    Appeared in Awake! November 8, 2001


    Help for Battered Women

    Help for Battered Women

    In this series:
    "Maybe This Time He'll Change"
    Why Do Men Batter Women?
    Help for Battered Women
    Machismo A Global Problem
    Correcting Misconceptions
    "Sometimes I Think I Am Dreaming!"

    Related topics:
    How to Solve Problems Peacefully
    Women What Does the Future Hold for Them?

    WHAT can be done to help women who are victims of violence? First, one has to understand what they are going through. Often the harm inflicted by batterers is more than physical. Verbal threats and intimidation are usually involved, so that the victim is made to feel worthless and helpless.

    Consider Roxana, whose story was recounted in the opening article. Sometimes her husband uses words as weapons. "He calls me demeaning names," Roxana confides. "He says: 'You didn't even finish school. How could you care for the children without me? You're a lazy, hopeless mother. Do you imagine that the authorities would let you keep the children if you left me?'"

    Roxana's husband maintains his control by keeping a tight rein on money. He does not allow her to use the car, and he calls throughout the day to check on what she is doing. If she expresses a preference, he throws a fit of rage. As a result, Roxana has learned never to express an opinion.

    As can be seen, spouse abuse is a complex subject. To be of support, listen with compassion. Remember, it is usually quite difficult for a victim to talk about what has been happening to her. Your goal should be to strengthen the victim as she deals with the situation at her own pace.

    Some battered women may need to seek assistance from the authorities. At times, a point of crisissuch as the intervention of the policecan cause an abusive man to see the seriousness of his actions. Admittedly, however, any motivation to change often vanishes once the crisis has passed.

    Should the battered wife leave her husband? The Bible does not treat marital separation lightly. At the same time, it does not oblige a battered wife to stay with a man who jeopardizes her health and perhaps her very life. The Christian apostle Paul wrote: "If she should actually depart, let her remain unmarried or else make up again with her husband." (1 Corinthians 7:10-16) Since the Bible does not forbid separation in extreme circumstances, what a woman does in this matter is a personal decision. (Galatians 6:5) No one should coax a wife to leave her husband, but neither should anyone pressure a battered woman to stay with an abusive man when her health, life, and spirituality are threatened.

    There is no room for a despot, tyrant, or bully in the Christian family
    Is There Hope for Batterers?

    Spouse abuse is a brazen violation of Bible principles. At Ephesians 4:29, 31, we read: "Let a rotten saying not proceed out of your mouth . . . Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from you along with all badness."

    No husband who claims to be a follower of Christ can really say that he loves his wife if he abuses her. If he were to mistreat his wife, of what value would all his other good works be? A "smiter" does not qualify for special privileges in the Christian congregation. (1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Indeed, any professed Christian who repeatedly and unrepentantly gives in to fits of anger can be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation.Galatians 5:19-21; 2 John 9, 10.

    Can violent men change their behavior? Some have. Usually, however, a batterer will not change unless he (1) admits that his conduct is improper, (2) wants to change his course, and (3) seeks help. Jehovah's Witnesses have found that the Bible can be a powerful influence for change. Many interested ones who study the Bible with them have developed a strong desire to please God. Concerning Jehovah God, these new Bible students learn that "anyone loving violence His soul certainly hates." (Psalm 11:5) Of course, for a batterer to change his behavior involves more than not hitting. It also entails learning a whole new attitude toward his wife.

    When a man gains knowledge of God, he learns to view his wife not as a servant but as a "helper" and not as inferior but as one to be 'honored.' (Genesis 2:18; 1 Peter 3:7) He also learns compassion and the need to listen to his wife's viewpoint. (Genesis 21:12; Ecclesiastes 4:1) The program of Bible study that Jehovah's Witnesses offer has helped many couples. There is no room for a despot, tyrant, or bully in the Christian family.Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29.

    "The word of God is alive and exerts power." (Hebrews 4:12) Thus, the wisdom contained in the Bible can help couples to analyze the problems they face and give them the courage to deal with them. More than that, the Bible contains the sure and comforting hope of seeing a world without violence when Jehovah's heavenly King rules over all obedient mankind. The Bible says: "He will deliver the poor one crying for help, also the afflicted one and whoever has no helper. From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul."Psalm 72:12, 14.

    Appeared in Awake! November 8, 2001

    Help for Battered Women

    "Sometimes I Think I Am Dreaming!"

    In this series:
    "Maybe This Time He'll Change"
    Why Do Men Batter Women?
    Help for Battered Women
    Machismo A Global Problem
    Correcting Misconceptions
    "Sometimes I Think I Am Dreaming!"

    Related topics:
    How to Solve Problems Peacefully
    Women What Does the Future Hold for Them?

    Lourdes gazes at the city from her apartment window, her fingers covering her trembling mouth. She is a Latin-American woman who suffered at the hands of Alfredo, her violent husband, for over 20 years. Alfredo was motivated to change. Yet, it is still difficult for Lourdes to speak of the physical and emotional pain she endured.

    "It started just two weeks after our wedding," Lourdes says in a low voice. "Once, he knocked out two of my teeth. Another time I ducked, and his fist smashed into a wardrobe. But the names hurt even more. He called me 'useless rubbish' and treated me as if I had no intelligence. I wanted to leave, but how could I with three children?"

    Alfredo touches Lourdes' shoulder tenderly. "I am a senior professional," he says. "I felt humiliated when I was issued a summons and handed a protection order. I tried to change, but soon I was acting the same way again."


    "I realized that God valued me. This gave me courage"

    How did things change? "The lady at the corner shop is one of Jehovah's Witnesses," explains Lourdes, now visibly more relaxed. "She offered to help me understand the Bible. I learned that Jehovah God values women. I started attending the meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses, even though at first it made Alfredo furious. It was a new experience for me to spend time with friends at the Kingdom Hall. I was amazed to discover that I could have my own beliefs, express them freely, and even teach them to others. I realized that God valued me. This gave me courage.

    "There was a turning point that I'll never forget. Alfredo was still attending Catholic Mass each Sunday, and he was protesting at what I was doing with Jehovah's Witnesses. I looked him straight in the eye and said calmly but confidently: 'Alfredo, what you think is not what I think.' And he didn't hit me! Not long after, I was baptized, and he has never hit me again in the five years since."

    But greater changes were to come. Alfredo explains: "About three years after Lourdes was baptized, a colleague who is one of Jehovah's Witnesses invited me to his house, and he explained fascinating things to me from the Bible. Without telling my wife, I began to study the Bible with him. Soon I was accompanying Lourdes to the meetings. Many of the talks I heard there were about family life, and these often left me feeling embarrassed."

    Alfredo was impressed to see congregation members, including men, sweeping the floor after the meetings. When he visited their homes, he saw husbands helping their wives wash the dishes. These small incidents demonstrated to Alfredo how true love acts.

    Alfredo was impressed to see congregation members, including men, sweeping the floor after the meetings
    He saw husbands helping their wives wash the dishes

    Shortly after, Alfredo was baptized, and now he and his wife serve as full-time ministers. "He often helps me clear the table after meals and make the beds," says Lourdes. "He commends me on my cooking, and he allows me to make choicessuch as what music I would like to listen to or what items we will buy for the house. These are things that Alfredo would never have done before! Recently, for the first time, he bought me a bouquet of flowers. Sometimes I think I am dreaming!"

    "Recently, for the first time, he bought me a bouquet of flowers"

    Return to Help for Battered Women

    Appeared in Awake! November 8, 2001
  • gsx1138
    gsx1138

    I love how they can vilify everyone else yet I know of personally 3 sisters who were beaten by their husbands and nothing was done. In fact I remember one elder saying how it wouldn't happen if they were better wives. One wife finally called the police on her husband who was promptly taken to jail. While just as promptly she was DF'd.

  • MrMoe
    MrMoe

    Being a past victim of severe spousal abuse, i know the WT stance quite well, and i know what i was told. To win him over without a word.

    When i left the borg, i kicked him out. Best damn thing i ever did.

    Moe

  • morrisamb
    morrisamb

    If my older brother and I (ages 18 and 15) had not taken our Witness mother away from her abusive husband, she'd still be with him. No question about it...and that was '76!

    I asked her a couple of years ago,"If you married again, and your Witness husband hit you, what would you do?"

    "Hope that it wouldn't happen again!"

    Her Witness faith didn't help educate her 20 years later!

  • peacefulwarrior
    peacefulwarrior

    I grew up watching my dad the elder beat up my mom the pioneer. She finally left him when I was 15 and threatened to kill him. The elders in the cong "reproved" her for leaving the man who beat her and her 4 daughters black and blue.

  • Lieu
    Lieu
    Some battered women may need to seek assistance from the authorities

    Why doesn't that read "All battered women need to seek assistance from the authorities"?

    At times, a point of crisissuch as the intervention of the policecan cause an abusive man to see the seriousness of his actions.

    Yes, "the first time".... drag the scum bag to the pokey.

    Admittedly, however, any motivation to change often vanishes once the crisis has passed.
    Admitted by whom? Motivation is when psycho family members named 'pooky' and 'lil man' come to pay the batterer a visit. :)
  • simplesally
    simplesally

    The crappy part is they say you are not free to leave unless you have "severe" or "life threatening" abuse. I guess regular abuse is ok for them.

  • Reborn2002
    Reborn2002

    Careful Moe... the WTS bastards will sue you for copyright infringement for posting their direct articles to another unauthorized webpage.

    Im also proud of you for kicking out the ASSHOLE who hit you.

    Any male (note I did not say MAN, a MAN would NEVER hit a woman, guys who do this are sub-human in my opinion) who hits a woman infuriates me.

    That is a pet peeve of mine. Abusing size and strength and forcing someone else to live in fear.. how SICKENING.

  • silentlambs
    silentlambs

    This article was the basis of the "battered lambs" section of the website. I think it should be distributed to every women's assistance program in the country to show how warped and one sided JW's are when it comes to spousal abuse.

    There was a standing agreement in the Awake writing department, any article that dealt with the abuse of women would never use as an example a spouse who took abuse for many years. This article used TWO examples of women who took beating for twenty years with the only solution being when their husbands became JWs. They defied their own policy and used these BAD examples of how abuse should be dealt with. This sends a message to all JW women to continue to endure and take it. What if your abuser is an elder? They did not seem to get into the nuts and bolts of that issue which represents 50% of all abusers in the organization.

    Once again these idiots not only confirm their spousal abuse policy in writing, but they put it up on their website for the entire world to see. Thank you WT for showing everyone how you love to provide support for wife beaters.

    Rotten turds...

    silentlambs

  • The Alchemist
    The Alchemist

    What a clever piece of Watchtower crap. Let me paraphrase them."Oh you may have to go to the authorities but expect that it won't in the long run do much good." "Your hope is with the Watchtower Bible and Counceling Society" "Be a good and sympathetic listener and you can solve the problem" Where is there mention of professional councelers? The only mention of outsiders being used is that they won't work because the husband will revert back to his old ways once the crisis started, so why bother? I doubt if most Witnesses notice the lies of omission.

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