The Lord hate … hands that shed innocent blood. — Proverbs 6:17
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women — more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Statistics show that every nine seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten; around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
Studies further suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. Nearly one in five teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
Right here in the D.C. metropolitan area within the past few months, domestic violence has made headlines. Laura Waller, a Caucasian Howard County teacher, was killed in Montgomery County by her boyfriend while four months pregnant. Her murderer led her to a strange place, then shot her in the back of her head. He was caught up in a love triangle, engaged to one woman while having impregnated Waller.
Andrea Grinage, a beautiful African-American young woman from Capitol Heights, Maryland, was seven months pregnant, and the father didn’t want the baby. He put her in the bathtub, threw gas on her stomach area and set her on fire. The baby was delivered. Both are still alive.
Paula Renee Coles from southeast D.C. was holding her 11-month-old son when his father stabbed her to death in the hallway of her building. The neighbor found them! She heard the baby crying and screaming as he lay in his dead mother’s pool of blood.
Finally, in Alexandria, Virginia, Dasheria Barksdale was attempting to leave her boyfriend. He stabbed her in front of her best friend. The friend left, and he kept stabbing the woman to death in the presence of others in the home, who ran out for safety. Dasheria was only 31 years old.
Those of you who find yourselves currently in a domestic violence situation: do everything possible to get out safely. Ladies, your body is a temple! Please care enough for yourself and your children to get away from men who are violent.
My own personal domestic violence story for the #MeToo movement still haunts me, 35 years later! My perpetrator was my own husband. The short version of my story: One day while living in San Pablo, California, we had one of our fights. On the floor, as my husband strangling me with his hands around my throat, I thought I was about to die. Ladies, the story doesn’t end pretty, and since this is a Religion Corner, I will spare you the rest of the details of my personal story!
Scripture reminds us of how we are to be treated as women. Let’s take a look at what scripture says in Ephesians: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. … In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
Finally, 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as a delicate vessel, and with honor as fellow heirs of the gracious gift of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”
Though it is easier said than done, my brothers and sisters, we must love the Lord with all of our hearts and with all of our souls, and we must love our neighbors as ourselves. It all starts with “love.” We won’t allow anyone to mistreat us when we love God and we love ourselves.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.