Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Domestic violence-What I wish I'd known

Please read this. 

I got a call one morning from a dear friend telling me "He shot her!!! He SHOT CASEY!" 

God help us. 

Those calls should never happen.  

Please read this and understand that evil is far closer than we would all like to think. This is real. 

I'm not posting a picture of her because I think it's a violation of her. But also because I want you to imagine one of your closest few friends. Your people. That's who she was to me. She was beloved and known and seen and in close community with others. 
When you read this, imagine your friend in her place because it's anyone. 

Victims can be ANYONE. I didn't know that before. I thought a victim would be someone who was, by nature, passive. Or someone who was dependent financially on their abuser. 

Casey was neither of those. She was assertive and anyone who knew her would agree with the characterization that she had a strong personality and was a very strong woman. She was financially independent. Her abuser didn't contribute much to her life in the way of meeting tangible needs, whether childcare, financial, etc. She was not dependent on him for her life to continue to run as it was. Of all of my friends, she was the last person, literally. The LAST ONE I could have imagined this happening to. 

Anther thing I wish I'd known is language to ask potentially offensive questions. When something sounded off to me, I thought rude thoughts and didn't want to say them to her about her husband. I met with a counselor regarding this whole situation and she had great ideas. One way to question a friend when things don't seem right is simply to say "That doesn't sound normal." Or "How do you feel about that?" Those are relatively neutral statements but are a starting point for conversation. She also made the point that if the person isn't ready to talk, you can't make them and must respect where they are in processing their feelings. But at least you know you put yourself out there. 

Another great point this counselor made is that trust is earned by someone's actions. If you have "a bad feeling" about  someone, that's legitimate and actionable. You do not have to justify why you don't trust someone and usually, you don't have that justification until 
something happens. It is a reminder that respect is always given but trust is not. It is earned. And you can make decisions accordingly, even with no "evidence" of untrustworthiness. 

Another thing I wish I'd said any time conversation came up about biblical marriage is that it's all thrown out the window if abuse is involved. God's heart is never for a woman to stay in an abusive or dangerous relationship.
The end. 

You can forgive and also separate. Forgiveness is not dependent upon reconciliation. While God hates divorce he doesn't hate THE divorced. And scripture should never be interpreted as reason to stay in an abusive situation. I don't know anything about how that applied to this situation. I just wish I'd said it and hope whenever biblical marriage is discussed, that caveat is explicitly stated. If one in three women are domestic violence victims, then each time a sermon is preached, you can be assured there is a victim listening. And they need to hear, from the pulpit, that God is not condoning this for them. 

I'm just so darn sad. Casey was a part of a small and intimate group that met each week for bible study. And we met for birthdays. And for running. And for basically all social events. We had a group text going where we touched base with each other almost daily.  She was on Team Caroline for our adoption race. She was one of the closest friends I'd ever had. Yet I knew NOTHING of this struggle. 

My takeaway from this horror is that no one ever be where I am right now. Let no child be where her children are, mourning their mom. Let's all acknowledge the real threat. Let's steer a conversation the way we have on racial inequality, where we acknowledge a problem and make space to discuss and space to process. Let's make this conversation a fabric of our society. And acknowledge the atrocity. 

Friends, my grief is so raw I almost can't look at it. This might be hard to read because it is very hard to live. Think about it anyway. Pay attention because we are all part of the eradication of this. Let's all wake up to the reality of this broken, broken world. And let's all remember that domestic violence impacts one in three women. You most likely know a victim. Be part of the solution. 

And many people have messaged to say they are praying for me. That is so kind! But please pray for Casey's family instead. If you ever think of me, pray for her family.  I'll be ok. Her family will never stop living with this weight.  Let's honor her life and start talking. 

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, fthe dwelling place1 of God is with man. He will gdwell with them, and they will be his people,2 and God himself will be with them as their God.3 hHe will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and ideath shall be no more, jneither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Rev 21:3-4


  1. Sista...I know words can't express how you and Casey's friends miss her. I'm so proud of you for putting this very real and awful truth in our society, out there for all to see/read. Will definitely pray for her family and her children. But do take care of you....grief can last quite hits you when you don't even expect it. After just going thru losing a very close family member, TOTALLY different circumstances, but still grief is powerful, strong, raw. Much love and hugs to you my baby sista!!!! xoxoxoxo

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  3. Dear Jill,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. So many people have bad feelings and don't know what to say or ask, including myself. This is very helpful. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  4. You’re absolutely right that anyone can be a victim. What happens is these victims become especially good at hiding the fact this is going on. They feel that they have to protect the person hurting them and then they also feel deep down that they are too embarrassed to ask for help so they hide it from friends and family.

  5. You’re right; no one should ever get this type of call. I think the hardest part is the forgiveness part for sure. When someone does something so horrible, it can be very challenging to let it go, but God wants you to let this go so you can experience what lies ahead, and holding it in won’t get you there.

    Eliseo Weinstein @ JR's Bail Bonds