Q: I think I'm in an abusive relationship, but I don't think it's that bad. How can I judge it rightly?
A: “The relationship becomes abusive when the husband or wife usurps control of the other person’s thoughts, actions, emotions, freedom, and individuality. Abusers believe they have the right to punish their partner when they disobey or fail to measure up, and often use violence to intimidate them, keep them in line, and regain control.”
Q: Whenever he's rough with me, my partner says he's sorry and that he can't help it. Is this possible?
A: Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his or her behavior. In fact, abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you. Abusers are able to control their behavior all the time by picking and choosing whom to abuse and when and where to do so. They are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them. Additionally, rather than acting out in a mindless rage, violent abusers usually direct their blows where they won’t show.
Q: How prevalent is domestic abuse, really?
A: Unfortunately, it is very common and you are not alone. Approximately 40% of California women experience physical intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Nationally, one in four women and one in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
Q: Even if I'm afraid, isn't it better for my children if our family stays together?
A: No. “Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.”
Q: Have I failed to be a submissive wife?
A: No. “A godly man will care for his wife as Christ cares for his beloved believers. By God's decree, she is guaranteed protection and loving-kindness. A man who understands and follows Christ's example is more concerned for his wife's well being than for his own. Her submission to his loving authority would in no way endanger her physical, emotional, or spiritual safety.”
Q: Is it abuse if I'm made to have sex when I don't want to or in a way that makes me uncomfortable?
A: “Sexual abuse refers to any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don't want to do. It can also refer to behavior that impacts a person's ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including oral sex, rape or restricting access to birth control and condoms.”
Q: I've never been threatened with death, but we do own a gun. What should I do about it?
A: “The presence of a firearm in an abusive relationship intensifies the fear of abuse victims and escalates the violence directed towards them, regardless of whether or not the survivor is married, dating or being stalked by the abuser.” You can ask a local law enforcement officer for assistance as federal firearms law prohibits the possession or purchase of firearms or ammunition by: persons convicted by a state or tribal court of qualifying misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence (18 U.S.C.922 (g)(9)).”
Q: Why do I keep finding the same kind of guy?
A: “People tend to find the same kind of people in a new relationship because of familiarity. If you came from a high drama house as a kid, a low drama house doesn’t feel natural, despite how functional it may be. People also tend to find people with similar levels of self-esteem. If you are in the dumps you will probably find someone who is also not at the top of their game. That is why it is best to take a long time to heel from a dysfunctional relationship before looking for a new one. If your are feeling healthy, it is much more likely that you will be attracted to someone who is healthy as well.”
Q: I have a friend who is in a domestic violence situation. How can I help?
A: “Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental. Be patient. Remember, it will take your loved one some time to deal with the crime. Help to empower your loved one. Rape and sexual violence are crimes that take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.” 
 Brenda Branson, “Healthy vs. Abusive Relationships: What’s the Difference?” Focus Ministries Newsletter, April 1999 http://bit.ly/1w6VVgN. (Accessed January 22, 2015).
 Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, “Domestic Violence and Abuse,” Help Guide, Updated December 14, http://bit.ly/1AdQvQP. (Accessed January 22, 2015).
 Author’s name not available, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, “Statistics and Facts, http://bit.ly/1DC4SB4. (Accessed January 22, 2015).
 Author’s name not available, NCADV Public Policy Office, “Domestic Violence Facts,” http://bit.ly/1Gdcx76. (Accessed January 22, 2015).
 Catherine L. Scott, Lovestruck: Realistic Help for Battered Wives and Bruised Homes (Denver: Accent Books, 1988), p. 68.
 Author’s name not available, Love is Respect, “What is Sexual Abuse?,” http://bit.ly/1MFWO55. (Accessed January 22, 2015).
 Author’s name not available, National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Firearms and Domestic Violence,” http://bit.ly/1AdRoZx. (Accessed January 22, 2015).
 Author’s name not available, National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Saving Women’s Lives Ending Firearms Violence Against Intimate Partners,” http://bit.ly/1EexzmP. (Accessed January 22, 2015).
. Author’s name not available, Coalition for Family Harmony, “FAQs; Sexual Assault FAQs,” http://bit.ly/1AVJxlI. (Accessed January 22, 2015).
. Author’s name not available, Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, “Help a Loved One,” http://bit.ly/1CX8VFf. (Accessed January 22, 2015).
Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
2 Timothy 3: 5-6 …having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts.
Psalm 34:17-20 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken.
Hebrews 13:5-6 For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Psalm 35:1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Psalm 54:4 Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life.
Psalm 119:105-107 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. I have sworn and confirmed that I will keep Your righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.
RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network 1.800.656.HOPE
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
Love is Respect 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence 1-800-524-4765
Coalition for Family Harmony 1-800-300-2181 (Bilingual)