How Victims Can Avoid Becoming Victims Again

by Bobby Lawson

Nobody wants to be a victim of domestic violence.  Nobody wants to be beaten, nobody wants to be sexually abused, nobody wants to be verbally abused, and nobody wants to be killed at the hands of her or his batterer.  So a lot of work goes into helping victims of domestic violence become survivors.  However, a victim of domestic violence can break free in a physical sense thus becoming a survivor, but still remaining a victim in another and very real sense.

Open a Bible and read Psalm 140 for more insight on this. The writer is not writing about domestic violence, but he is writing about a person who suffers at the hands of violent people, and that would definitely fit a victim of domestic abuse.  Those who have had to endure the attacks of an abuser, whether verbal, emotional, sexual or physical, will identify with the feelings of this writer.

Rescue me from evil people, O Lord. Keep me safe from violent people.

They plan evil things in their hearts. 

They start fights every day.  They make their tongues as sharp 

as a snake’s fangs. 

Their lips hide the venom of poisonous snakes.

(Psalm 140:1-3)

In this psalm the writer cries out to God for rescue and judgment on those who oppress them.  How many victims of domestic violence have done the same when family, churches and the legal system have failed them?  Surely God has heard many cries come before Him from victims.  Perhaps part of God’s answers to those cries are the increasing number of people He is moving to help victims of domestic violence and to stand up for them.

However, God’s help is also needed at a deeper level where many victims of domestic abuse might fail to see the need. Notice some of the other words of Psalm 140:

I know that the LORD will defend the rights of those who are oppressed

and the cause of those who are needy. 

Indeed, righteous people will give thanks to your name. 

Decent people will live in your presence.

(Psalm140:12-13)

 What is this deeper level?  It is the place where a person who has been hurt so much changes in some dark ways.  They can become bitter, disillusioned, angry, resentful, etc.  They can become people who will seek more than just defending themselves or breaking free, choosing instead to retaliate or get even.  They may even plot to take the life of their abuser.  In so doing, they lose something very decent and noble about themselves and become victimized at a deeper level.

Knowingly or unknowingly, any of us can get ourselves into an abusive relationship where the abuse is not our choice.  We do not make the choice to be beaten or abused in any way by a batterer.  Yet we do have the choice to determine what affect that abuse will have on us.  If we allow the abuse to change us in such a way that we lose some of the decent qualities that characterize us, we become victims all over again.

With God’s help, we can make different choices.  God desires that even the oppressed people will remain decent people, not allowing the oppression to change them.  The batterer may be able to harm the body, but the victim has the power to keep the inner self untouched by the abuse.