The Right Kind of Love

1st Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NIV)Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love, according to the above passage, “does not dishonor others,” “it is not easily angered”, and “it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” In this passage we see a clear picture of the right kind of love, even the “good love” that Whitney Houston once sang about. Victims of domestic violence do not receive the right kind of love when they are in an abusive relationship. October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Having spent fifteen years as a domestic violence legal advocate, one of my purposes in life is to speak up for domestic violence victims and educate/inform the public about domestic violence and the harm it does to our communities. It is all of our business to protect women and children, and to work towards reducing or eliminating domestic violence.

Let’s begin with a brief description of what qualifies as domestic violence. Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used to exert power and control over another in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, psychological or financial. Verbal abuse can cause irreparable harm to a woman’s self-esteem, especially when she is called names like “stupid” and “bitch” on a regular basis. Physical violence can begin as a slap in the face or a push. The violence can escalate to punches, kicks, strangulation, and ultimately murder. Domestic violence crimes include assault, threats, harassment, malicious mischief, property damage, telephone harassment, stalking, cyberstalking, unlawful imprisonment, protection order violations, and interfering with reporting domestic violence (simply put, making the phone unavailable). These behaviors are NOT examples of the right kind of love.

According to statistics, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men will experience intimate partner physical violence in their lifetime. 1 in 10 teenagers will be harmed in an abusive relationship. Black women experience intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races. Black women who are marginalized are at a tremendous risk for victimization by an intimate partner (Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community).

Let’s take a glimpse at two real life headlines from last year:

“Domestic-related murder victim allegedly attacked by suspect 1 month before death” – Fox 59

June 10, 2020

Indianapolis – Police were called to a home early Tuesday morning and found  29 year old Ashley Richardson shot to death. Her fiance was arrested for her murder. According to her sister, “he lured her there and executed her.” “He took her from us. There is no redo.” Just five weeks before the fatal shooting, police were called to the same address for a previous violent domestic incident between the same suspect and the same victim. The victim’s sister said Ashley tried to break up with the suspect after prosecutors claim he assaulted her with a hammer inside their home last month.

Mom stabbed to death on North Side trying to help rescue friend’s daughter from boyfriend”

Syracuse.com December 13, 2020

Syracuse, N.Y. – On Friday night, a friend asked Franchelli Almonte to help her pick up her 17 year-old daughter, who was with a boyfriend who wouldn’t let her leave. Almonte drove her friend to a North Side apartment, but when the girl tried to leave, her boyfriend told her she couldn’t. He threatened her. When the girl got into the car, he threw a brick through the car’s back window. Then he came over to the driver’s side of the car, where Almonte sat. She tried to ward him off with a stick she kept in the car for self defense. Instead he stabbed her. “All she was doing was giving her friend a ride, said Amy Larrieux, another friend of Almonte. Later that night, Almonte, 36, mother of two, was pronounced dead at Upstate University Hospital, according to police and friends.

Sadly, there are many more headlines just like these. The reality is domestic violence can never be eliminated by silence. Speak up. Innocent women and children are still being murdered. Speak up. Society can no longer afford to be bystanders to the violence that occurs in families. The children who witness violence are likely to repeat the behavior as adults. Speak up. The trauma lasts for generations without intervention/counseling. There are resources, shelters, hotlines, and advocates to help you through a violent situation. Don’t let fear keep you silent. Speak up. Ask for help, or if you are given the opportunity, help someone. Here are a few ways to help yourself or others:

1. DON’T suffer alone and in silence, there are people that care.

2. DO speak up and report domestic violence.

3. DO obtain a protection order to keep an abuser away from you and/or your children.

4. DO confide in a friend, one who will listen and not judge.

5. DON’T blame victims. The violence they endure is not their fault.

6. DO make a safety plan. Click this link https://ncadv.org/personalized-safety-plan

7. DO know the warning signs of abuse (available through agency links provided below).

Following is a short list of resources for domestic violence survivors. Please consider donating to these agencies during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It can be your step towards helping eliminate domestic violence.

Atlantic Street Center https://atlanticstreetcenter.org

New Beginnings https://newbegin.org/

DAWN https://www.dawnrising.org/

Northwest Family Life https://northwestfamilylife.org/

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence https://wscadv.org

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence https://ncadv.org/

YWCA Seattle/King County https://ywcaworks.org

Seattle City Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence Unit

https://www.seattle.gov/cityattorney/crime-victim-assistance/domestic-violence-help

Project Be Free https://project-be-free.com

“Show them your heart and tell them you’ll help” is the final statement of a commercial I saw more times than I can count during the pandemic. This commercial advertisement raises awareness and money for abused animals. During the same time period, I don’t recall seeing a commercial addressing domestic violence or raising money for abused women and children. I love my cat Sierra dearly, but can our society be more concerned about animals than abused women and children? I sure hope not.

The right kind of love is kind, loving, patient, it protects and does not harm, it is not verbally, emotionally, or physically abusive. The right kind of love will always make you feel safe. The right kind of love will not isolate you from your family and friends. The right kind of love allows you to control your own thoughts and decisions.

To anyone who has been harmed or affected by domestic violence, I wish you peace, healing, and restoration. My daughter sang this song for me, and now I dedicate it to you. You are beautiful, courageous, resilient and strong. You should be given your flowers now. God bless you.

India.Arie, “Flowers”

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Gregory Davis
    Oct 01, 2021 @ 23:46:45

    Speak Up. That you for the education!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: