Friday, January 3, 2014

Domestic Abuse in America

According to the National Center for PTSD, here are some staggering statistics about domestic abuse and other types of partner abuse. Now these statistics were about 5 years ago, but I can only imagine that the statistics are higher now in 2014:

1. At least once in their lifetimes, 20-30% of American women are physically abused by a partner.
2. Each year, 1.3 million women and more than 800,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner.
3. More than 200,000 women are raped by an intimate partner each year.
4. Of those in same-sex relationships, 11% of women and 23% of men are raped, otherwise physically assaulted, and/or stalked by an intimate partner.
5. More than 500,000 women & 185,000 men are stalked by an intimate partner each year.
6. Of all women's emergency-room visits, 30-40% are for injuries due to domestic violence.
7. Fifty percent of men who assault their female partners also assault their children.
8. Each year, 3.3 million children witness acts of domestic violence.

This needs to change!

The Mayne Man

Monday, December 30, 2013

My Life With PTSD

I'm reading a book about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), because I'm in therapy for it (as a result of surviving child sexual abuse - I share a little of this in the Author's Note of Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid), and I believe I am called to educate those who are blind to what we deal with.

There's a paragraph within the book that goes like this: to a casual observer, people living with PTSD seem to be doing fine. The truth is, they are battling symptoms that, if left untreated, make it difficult or impossible for them to hold down jobs, have meaningful relationships, or achieve their goals and dreams.

What is the message: don't assume that a person is fine on the surface and pass them by. Always have your discernment light on and be available to offer an encouraging word (not to get them off your back), but one that shows that you love them and are with them.

One thing I find when it comes to PTSD is that some people can be callous to what PTSD really is, but what we all need to understand is this: when Vietnam war veterans ended up with PTSD, they were met with little sympathy. Why? Because the protests showed hatred to those involved especially those soldiers who had no choice (the draft). Sadly, many PTSD patients are treated as if this disorder is a sign of weakness. 

Another thing that comes to mind is that the media will focus more on war veterans who develop PTSD (and I stand with them as I am a fellow veteran) than they will those who develop PTSD as a result of rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc. I am willing to believe the media doesn't want to address PTSD among us survivors because they will have to give an account as to why they are glorifying the abusers/rapists and cursing the victims & survivors (and even the more when victims commit suicide).

In closing: though I am in therapy, I am commuted to my healing to fully thrive and I encourage all of my fellow survivors to be committed to their healing. We can't be victims forever. And I believe our stories are a testimony to the fact that we are still alive and that we are here for a divine purpose. I stand with you survivors and I love you all! The best is yet to come for us in 2014!


The Mayne Man

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Truth & Myth of "Loving Yourself"

God created us "to love & be loved." But because we live in a fallen world, two words appear, "hatred" & "selfishness." 

I remember reading a book by Chuck & Nancy Missler entitled "The Way of Agape," and she broke down the truth & myth of loving yourself. I'm going to share a small clip of what she said and then I want to share my thoughts especially when we are "trying" to help abused victims (and what happens when we don't let children know that are loved). 

What Nancy said: when we are not having victory in our walk with Christ, the enemy will say: you need to love yourself more so you can love others.

The more I think about what Nancy said, there's a point that needs to be addressed. If you look at what the enemy's specialty is, it's simply serving "self." He is the king of "self-centeredness!" 

Continuing on what she said: 
The basic problem is not that we don't love (agape) ourselves, we do that naturally. The problem is we don't like (storge) ourselves. 
The solution is that we are never to agape self, but instead to agape God and others. We do want to storge self. This will come as we understand that we have been conformed to His image.

I'm sure some questions and/or thoughts are coming up such as the following:

1. So what are the types of love you mentioned above? I will give brief definitions on those two and two additional love's right now:
Storge love - natural, emotional, feeling love
Eros love - natural, sexual love
Phileo love - natural, friendship love
Without God's intervention, those 3 become conditional, self-centered love that desires the good of itself
Agape love - this is God loving through us (1 John 4:12), we can't do this on our own. There are no strings attached, and it's other-centered love.

2. I was abused and I don't feel loved? There's a possibility that whoever was responsible for looking out for you abandoned you and overlooked your abuse. Let me state this: you are not plagued with a demonic spirit. You were never taught the truth about love. Now, you just need an understanding about what love entails. See question #1.

3. So why do I hear from people inside and outside the church shoving down my throat the need for me to love myself? Both groups don't have an understanding of what love really is. Many say it because they don't want to hear problems of others, which really equates to them just being selfish. Now if adults from your childhood always demonized you (verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse) it's only natural for you to feel that way (and that part is not your fault). But is that the truth about you? No. Now you have the chance to do something as an adult (I don't expect you to overcome this overnight), and that's simply learn the truth of who you are in Christ.

4. What happens when a child never knew who their true identity is and they carry that into adulthood?
Many things can happen. They can end up bound with a mental illness, self-mutilate, or possibly commit suicide. 

5. How can we prevent this? First, don't condemn by pointing a finger stating "you are in sin!" From there, they are not going to receive the good news. You have to understanding they are hurting and heading down Niagara Falls, so to speak. Only those who are able to swim and be able to scoop them up before they drown should be the ones doing this. Too many ill-equipped people are doing this and we're creating more hurt people. 
Another way is to let them know that not only does God love them, but you love them (and please don't just say it cause it sounds good). Listen to them because they're crying for help and love. If God is living in us, we are agents of light and love.

I would recommend that everyone read the book mentioned above along with CS Lewis' The Four Loves. 


The Mayne Man