Note: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As a victim of nearly 50 years of this, I will be writing openly and freely on this topic, even for FMF (which I always have, but just in case you’re new here. :D). As always, I hope to encourage the marginalized to find their voice and to speak out against the abuse perpetrated against them, even if, like me, it was at the hands of people claiming to be Christians.
I’m not a huge fan of the show, Friends. I’m actually not a huge fan of many sitcoms. But I did watch the show when my sister and I were living together. The thing I noticed about the show pretty much from the beginning was the overt lack of family connection. Aside from a brother-sister relationship, family wasn’t the central theme. It seemed that these six people had had enough of their messed up families and gone out and created their own. That was something I could understand and actually relate to.
While I have spent most of my life bowing to church and cultural pressure to put family first, in my heart I have never been fully convinced that blood is thicker than water. My parents abused me, and my brother, and my sister from infancy, while people turned a blind eye. My paternal grandmother regular witnessed my mother beating my baby brother before he could even crawl. My maternal grandmother witnessed overt neglect. I told my paternal grandparents the things my parents did. And for the sake of “family” silence reigned.
I followed in their footsteps as a young woman with the abuse I watched my step-sisters, and my brother, dole out on their own children. I was taught, both by words and example that family was everything and all we could do was trash-talk people behind their backs, that there was no use in speaking up because it would tear the family apart.
I know this code of silence remains, both inside and outside the church. We turn a blind eye. Until we learn there is another way. Until we are brave enough to finally take a stand and put an end to it, this will be the story of far too many people who have been told that family is more important that justice and love.
Today’s link is to an article about DV in the church and pastors’ response to it. It’s pretty disheartening. I like to think in the few years since the article was written, things have improved.