Sunday, July 31, 2011

Silent Tears

            She cried in secret. Her tears were known only to her, as were the bruises and deep emotional scars. In her pain she felt that even God had abandoned her. After all, from all that she had been told, her failures as a woman were as much a disappointment to God as they were to the man who had to beat her into submission.
            Many would wonder why any woman would stay in such a situation. In fact, part of the shame built into her through years of cruel words and distorted interpretations of the Bible leave her in such fear of judgment on the outside that it acts like a prison wall keeping her inside.
            There are those at her church who would help, but over the years, he’s taught her they can’t be trusted and are all really evil. When her friends begin to question or become aware of her pain, his demanding and punitive voice arises in her mind reminding her how dangerous and selfish those women are. Knowing the wrath she must face if they get involved, she has distanced herself from them as well.
            She has left three times before. In every case, the strong emotional manipulation was so strong, she felt safer in the torture chamber of her abusive marriage than living in the fear he had instilled in her. So, in every case she went back. Statistically, she’ll probably leave four more times before she finds the strength to do it for good or is killed in her own home.
            As tragic as her story is, it pales in comparison to the tragic reality that she is only one of countless women who struggle with the harsh reality of abusive relationships. And, not only is she desperately caught up in this deadly cycle of violence, her children are being raised in a this toxic environment. If statistical patterns play out into a new generation, her children will grow up to be abusers or victims in their own adult households and cement the poison into another generation.
            This is not God’s will! In Carlsbad there are countless silent victims of domestic violence every day! Some break free. A few stay with friends or other safe houses. Many seek safe shelter at the Carlsbad Battered Family Shelter. For most, their story is too painful to tell here, yet is also frighteningly real.
            The Carlsbad Battered Family Shelter is one organization that is making a positive difference in the lives of these women. For the staff who works there, it is never just a job, but rather a calling to ministry to the ones most in need of God’s tender, loving touch. Hundreds of women, children, and even a few victimized men have found safety, hope, and grace within the walls of the shelter.
            This story, fortunately, has a happy ending. It took her two more tries, but on the final time she left him, she was able to seek shelter. The loving compassion of the staff and educational supports offered through the shelter gave her the strength and confidence she needed to move on. Today she is on her own and raising her children in the safety and security of her own home. Her abuser is receiving classes designed to break his cycle of violence. It is a happy ending because you supported the Carlsbad Battered Family Shelter. 
              Only when we all stand up in opposition to this horrible sin of Domestic Violence will there be an end to the scourge of silent tears that stream down the faces of too many of our neighbors. 

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