Millions of us watched the video in horror of a national
football player punching his then-girlfriend in an elevator, rendering her
unconscious. We watched him drag her limp body halfway out of the elevator and
drop her on the floor before someone else appeared in the video, hopefully to
come to her aid.
The two married the day after he was indicted on an
aggravated assault charge in this case.
The new video was expanded footage from what had previously
been released. The first video earned the football player a suspension. The
most recent expanded video ended his football career.
His wife released the following statement regarding the
recent events, "I woke up this morning feeling like I
had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest
friend," (she) wrote. "If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass
us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many
levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real
I do not know this woman, but I have met many like her over
the years through my biblical counseling ministry. Women in abusive
relationships don't want to believe the man they love is really the monster
other people tell her he is. Women in abusive relationships tell themselves it
is unusual to be slapped, punched or harmed by their husband or boyfriend,
even when it happens all the time. Women in abusive relationships will
often support their abuser, standing up for him against the flood of criticism
that comes his way. Women in abusive relationships will accept the blame for
his actions against them while justifying and rationalizing his abuse.
Abuse in a relationship has often been going on for quite
some time before it is exposed and the woman has grown accustomed to covering
and making excuses for her bumps and bruises. She has learned the signs of
impending violence, and has become skilled at "walking on eggshells"
around her man. She tries to soothe him, pacify him, keep him happy and
content, all vain attempts at preventing the next beating.
She says he loves her. She says she loves him. She says he
is a good man with a good heart. Here is truth: an abuser does not
love the person he is abusing. Regardless of any words that
come out of his mouth, this is not love.
Here are some things you need to know:
Abusers are manipulative, and use guilt, shame, and fear to
control their victims. It is a common practice of an abuser to shift the blame
for their actions onto their victim saying things like, "If you would have
kept your mouth shut I wouldn't have slapped you." "If you were a
better wife you wouldn't need to be put in your place all the time."
Abusers will shame their victims, and be highly critical of
their physical appearance, intelligence, and abilities. They may tell their
wife or girlfriend how "lucky" she is to have a man like him, one who
"loves" and cares for her despite her numerous flaws. Fear is a
typical tactic used in all abuse situations. Intimidation is one method of
keeping her silent about his abuse. Warning her if she tells anyone the beating
will be worse next time, that no one would believe her anyway, and that he will
divorce her and leave her with nothing are common threats of an abuser.
Abusers understand power, control, and anger
Men who abuse their girlfriends or wives will often limit
their access to money, friends, and other family members. They have to have
control over virtually every area of her life. Any questions about these issues
are considered challenges and are met with anger, threats, or emotional
Abusers are selfish and self-focused
The abuser wants all of his desires met all of the time. He
does not usually care about what she wants or needs in the relationship. It is
all about him. He thinks very highly of himself and expects his girlfriend or
wife to cater to his every perceived need.
Abusers believe they have a "right" to abuse
Any challenge to his authority is perceived as giving him
the right to dominate. When he beats on his woman, he is exercising what
he believes is his right to get her in line, and force obedience.
Some men will abuse their wife or girlfriend if he thinks she is not
demonstrating proper worship and gratitude for him.
Secular sources promote the false idea that an abusive
person has low self-esteem but nothing could be further from the truth. Any
person who is willing to treat another human being with such hatefullness and
callous regard for the purpose of meeting their own wants, needs, and desires
thinks very highly of themselves already. He loves himself and
his expectation is you will love him as much as he does.
However, each one of you also must love his
wife as he loves himself... Ephesians 5:33
I am sad to say emotional and physical abuse also takes
place in Christian marriages, including those of pastors and other church
leaders. While all abuse is unacceptable, abuse in Christian marriage is a
special kind of heinous considering marriage is to exemplify the relationship
of Christ and the Church.
For this reason a man shall leave his father
and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one
flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with
reference to Christ and the church. Ephesians
Abusers will often use headship as an acceptable reason for
This is a tragic way for a man to use the leadership
position God has given to him. Male leadership in the home is not intended to
be a benevolent dictatorship. A wife has the responsibility to voice her
thoughts and opinions on matters relating to the marriage and family. She is a
God-given gift to her husband in this way and this is part of her role as his
helpmeet. A husband who refuses to listen to his wife and abuses her for
challenging his authority (i.e.speaking to a situation) is an ungodly
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives
in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel,
since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers
may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 (ESV)
Abusers will use submission as reason to allow abuse to
I have been told a wife cannot expose abuse because it is
not submissive. Submission does not mean doormat. It does not mean subject
yourself to being hurt. Submission does not mean accept being hit, kicked,
punched, threatened or assaulted. A husband has no biblical standing to use a
failure to submit as justification for abusing his wife. A wife is not to
submit to her husband if he asks her to sin, her primary honor and obedience is
to God. No man's authority supersedes Gods authority. A man is sinning
when he tells his wife to remain silent about abusing her.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is
fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh
with them. Colossians 3:18-19 (ESV)
Abusers do not love their wives as Christ loves the
In the same way husbands should love their
wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one
ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does
the church, because we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:28-30 (ESV)
is common for an abuser to be remorseful after he has beaten his wife or
girlfriend. He may cry and beg forgiveness, he may promise never to do it
again. Unless he is truly repentant and experiences changes within the cycle
will continue and most likely escalate over time.
Women, you do not have to stay in an abusive relationship.
It is not ungodly or unsubmissive to seek help, no matter what you have been
told by your abuser or anyone else!
If a man physically assaults his wife or his girlfriend she
is obligated by law and by the Bible to call the police, have
him arrested, and press charges. Christians are required to work within the
framework of the law of the land, and arrest is the provision that has been
made for physical abuse. It can be a frightening step to take, but it is
Let every person be subject to the
governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and
those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists
the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur
judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would
you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will
receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if
you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the
servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore
one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the
sake of conscience. Romans 13:1-5 (ESV)
During his absence, collect all the important information
and documents you can find (Social Security cards, birth certificates, bank
information), access enough money to hold you over for a while, and line up a
safe and secure place to stay. Purchase a different cell phone and leave
your old one behind so he cannot track you. Leave him a note telling him you
are safe and will contact him when you think it is safe. Take these steps for
your protection as he will likely be enraged when he is released from jail.
are numerous other precautions you will need to take before contacting him,
so I also recommend you meet with a counselor
who understands abuse as soon as possible.
strongly urge informing the leadership of your church about
the abuse as one of the next things you do. If he is a Christian, the church
has an obligation to intervene in your husband's life and attempt to help him
repent and change (Matthew 18:15-20; James 5:19-20).
much of what we share on social media is silly and unimportant, but abuse can
be an issue of life and death. Therefore, I am asking you to share this post
with every woman you know. Because abuse is a hidden sin in many families, you
have no idea whose life you will touch or save by sharing this