Domestic Violence Awareness

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I know that it is also an awareness month for other things that are also very important, but this is something that affects every level and sector of every society on Earth.

The type of domestic violence we hear about the most is physical abuse. Abusers make a practice of controlling their victims with threats of violence and actual violence. They will hit a victim with an open hand or closed fist. They will throw things at their victims and sometimes throw their victims. They cause bruises, broken bones, and strike terror into the heart of their victims. Their victims are can be wives, children, parents, dates or partners. Basically, anyone who is physically, mentally, or emotionally less strong than them. Not weaker, just not as strong. And, whatever weakness they find they will attack over and over until that weakness is amplified and their victim becomes overcome by it.

Much has been said about why abuse happens. Women are asked, “What did you do to make him hurt you?” Blame is repeatedly placed upon the victim as if she is at fault for her own mistreatment. When family, acquaintances finally become convinced that her situation is dangerous then they ask her other questions such as, “Why don’t you just leave?”

Domestic Violence is not a simple subject that can be asked and answered in short sentences. Nor can be it resolved with simple answers. Anything that involves human relationships is complex and must be dealt with as such.

The main problem to face is that an abuser doesn’t hurt those in his family because they have done something wrong. Abusers hurt those in their families because they believe they have a right to treat them however they please, whatever it takes to get them what they want. It is not about pleasing or appeasing them. It is all about manipulation and control.

There are other types of abuse that include emotional, mental, social, financial, and spiritual. I will teach about these in other posts. But, if there are so many types of abuse, why is physical abuse the one that is talked about so much. There are several reasons for this. For one, it is the most urgent, forcing victims into emergency rooms, hospitals, and unfortunately, sometimes into the grave. Aside from the danger involved, physical abuse is the only one that is prosecutable and prosecution of an abuser under the force of law is the only way to legally protect victims from abusers and the only way to legally punish abusers.

Why do I write about domestic violence? Because more than twenty years ago I was a victim of domestic violence. I was married for fourteen years to a man I met at church who I found out only after we were married was abusive. For years, I made excuses for him. He was sick, he was out of work or something that would cause his unusual and unexpected behavior. I went through all the stages of denial until the night I was dodging the steak knives he threw across our alley kitchen at me. After spending the night in shock, the next day I filed for divorce and began a new journey.

After four long years of struggling with post-traumatic stress, I was finally able to receive God’s healing and deliverance. Since that time I have learned all I could learn, and in turn taught what I have learned, to anyone who is interested, about the realities of domestic violence. My goal and intent are to teach women their true worth in God’s eyes and to teach any who want to learn how to recognize abuse and how to help those who are victimized by it. No one deserves to be mistreated by their spouse, parent or child.  God’s intent is that families love and cherish one another and that Home Should Be Safe. Our homes should be the safest place on earth, not a place we fear to go.

For more information on domestic violence you can purchase my book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence.  You can purchase it from my website www.minaraulston.com for $12.99.

What do you know about domestic violence? What would you like to know?


Domestic Violence is a Crime – Part 2

Some readers may have thought I came down a little hard on my last post about domestic violence being a crime. Look, everyone, I know this is a tough subject to talk about or read about.  But,  imagine how hard it is for the person or family going through it. Imagine trying to make sense of things, trying to find someone you can talk to who will not blame you for what has happened and help you figure out what to do.

The reason I have a part 2 to this post is that domestic violence was not always a crime. Did you know that? Domestic violence did not become a criminal, prosecutable offense until the 1960’s.  As a matter of fact, until the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was passed in 1920, women had no legal rights. They couldn’t go to court to get a divorce;  they could not claim an inheritance without a male relative and if their husbands divorced them he didn’t have to give her custody of her own children. If she contacted authorities about her husband’s abuse the court did nothing unless there was severe physical injury or death. Basically, whatever happened in the home was off limits to the legal system. A man was able to treat his family any way he pleased.

Even when domestic violence laws began to be drafted they were slow to come and inconsistent from state to state and enforcement inconsistent from community to community and even from officer to officer. A woman never knew who she could trust. Once, when my oldest child was about two we were at my in-laws home. My husband and his father got into a violent fight and his mom called the police. They came and “took him for a walk around the block to cool him off.” Then, they had the nerve to tell me he was ok now and was I ok to go home with him. Question: Where did they think I could go; how did they think I could go anywhere?  We had only one car and he had made me quit my job so I had no personal resources. I was terrified but I was trapped. I was a young wife with a young child and I had no idea what to do or how to do it. Thankfully laws are improved as is the response of police.  But, the violence continues and laws only deal with the crime after the fact; shelters and counseling treat the problem but don’t stop it. It will take a shift in society’s values to stop the violence. It takes each person, each church, each organization, each court to take a stand and make a bold statement that violence in the home will not be tolerated.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea that I am a feminist or a man hater let me say that I am neither. The reason I like to speak to men as well as women about domestic violence isn’t that I want to punish all men for the sins of some men. The reason I like to speak to men about domestic violence is that I know there are good men in this world. I know men who treat their wives like queens and their daughters like princesses and honor their mothers every day of their lives. It is these men who have hope of reaching the violent men. After all, if a man disrespects his mother, wife and daughters he will not listen to a woman about his behavior. But, a man who is responsible, respectable and honorable can speak to that man or that boy and teach them that being a man doesn’t mean manipulating, controlling and mistreating those he claims to love. We women can speak out about what’s wrong and we can take care of each other when tough times happen. But, it takes a real man to teach a boy how to be a man. I hope there are men who will read this and take the challenge to try to influence other men and boys to grow up respectable, responsible and honorable.

My dad was a great man to me.  He worshipped the ground my mom walked upon. He worked hard to provide for her and my brother and I even when she was suffered several nervous breakdowns. She was very difficult to deal with during that time. But we always had food, clothing, shelter and a safe home. No matter how difficult my mom could be when she was sick my dad would never have considered hitting her and wouldn’t have tolerated anyone else hitting her. My dad had only been dead a couple months when the events mentioned above happened so I don’t think he ever knew of my husband’s abuse. My dad was not a religious man but my dad was a loving, considerate man. 

For all the blame that is attributed to women for their abuse my dad had a code that he lived by. A man’s behavior to women was not about how they behaved to him. A man’s behavior to women was all about his core beliefs. All women were to be treated as if they were a lady whether they were or not. I remember when my brother first came home from military boot came he was all excited and wanted to tell a “man’s” joke. My dad took him in the other room and said he had to tell him the joke first and he would decide if he could tell it in front of Mom and I.

Legal rights is about all people being treated as a human being. No one, male or female, deserves to be abused. We are each responsible for our own behavior and we, as a society must make a moral stand against abuse.


Animals and Domestic Violence

Animals and Domestic Violence -By Mina R Raulston June 14, 2010

Animals are a very important but many times neglected subject when it comes to the issue of domestic violence. When people think of domestic violence they usually think of how it affects the people involved but rarely are animals considered. But, animals affect the subject of domestic violence in two very important ways.

First, if family members must flee their home and seek safety in a domestic violence shelter, what do they do with the family pet? Only a few domestic violence shelters provide for shelter for family pets. Why, you ask, is this important? In domestic violence cases it has been proven that an abuser will injure or kill a beloved pet in order to punish a victim or prove to a victim that their threats of violence are real and not empty.

In an interview that I did several years ago on the subject of animals and domestic violence the director of the Montgomery County Ohio Animal Shelter informed me that whenever animal shelter employees discover animal abuse in a home they inform social services so that they can investigate the possibility of spouse or child abuse because they are usually found together.

In my next post we will discuss the abuse of animals as a precursor to abuse of family members.