Friday, December 08, 2017

She Says Abuse is Going on? Give Her the Benefit of the Doubt

   One protective battered mother wrote that she wanted the court to order a mental health assessment for her abusive ex-husband. She believed this would show that he needed help, and that he would be court-ordered to get the help he needed. She naively believed the Judge would see that he was not safe for their children to be alone with until he received help for his abusiveness. 
   But the court refused her request.  
   Unless things have changed, this was probably just as well, as it is a sad fact that many batterers score within normal ranges on mental health assessments, and judges know this. 
   This is but one of the symptoms of patriarchal influence that has governed the laws and psychological "norms" of our culture. 
   Pray that this will change.
  Unless another, more easily diagnosable problem exists, wife-beaters  /abusive husbands almost always present normally, not only on psychological assessments, but also to friends and co-workers. Knowing someone for years, does not mean we really know them, and spouse abusers are very good at hiding their abuse, isolating their victims, and even influencing friends and acquaintances to suspect their wives may be liars or mentally unstable.
   Abusers are master manipulators of their self images. 
  Among other things (fear, economic and child custody concerns), often because of loyalty, hope for things to get better, and also to avoid social censure, abused Christian wives almost always collude with their abusers [at least for a while--sometimes for years] to hide what is going on. 
      Only about 25% percent of abuse claims prove to be false, and this usually happens in child custody disputes with the lying parent going to the court with the fabrication--not to their pastor or friends. Statistics show that fathers suing for custody are just as likely to make false claims as mothers, so discounting the story of a woman who finally becomes desperate enough to escape her violent or abusive situation is not an option when dealing compassionately and biblically with the sin of domestic violence
   When she approaches her pastor, friend, or family member, seeking help, give her the benefit of the doubt--even if you know her husband, and the story seems unbelievable. 
   Her life, safety, and the safety of her children could depend on it.

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