… and this just in: News from the Streets of Ipswich. Issue 10

The Word on the Street

Reporter_Kermit_1

No, getting punched in the face is not your fault

So many amazing and fascinating things go on in Ipswich, as I move around on the streets making friends with people. There are lots of stories I can’t share, for various reasons, but I find there are many that I can.

I hope this series gives a colourful insight into life in the street culture of Ipswich. This is the community into which I speak God’s Word. I love the people, and I see God powerfully at work here.


No, getting punched in the face is not your fault

distressed

I posted this about a year ago on facebook. I thought I’d bring it here, now that I’m talking about conversations that I’ve had on the street.


 

This is what I posted:

Met a woman today with the twin black eyes that indicate a broken or badly damaged nose, carrying a small child… I make direct, close eye contact.

Me: Are you safe?

Her: Yeah. This is my fault.

Me: No it isn’t. I have a number I can call. They have shelters. They can keep you safe.

Her: No, no. Thanks anyway. It’s my fault really. I had a drink and I shouldn’t have.

Me: It’s never ok. I have a number. I can call them now.

Her: No, it’s ok really. But thanks. See ya.

Me: I’m around, especially on Tuesdays. Come see me. I’d like to know you’re ok.

Her: Are you religious or something…?

Me: … well yeah, but I won’t bother you with that stuff. I just care about you.

Her: Ok. Ok, yeah. I’ll see ya. Thanks.

Father, Keep calling her. I think she almost heard it today. Amen.

I’ve never seen her again since. (For a similar story, which did end with a woman going into a shelter, see this article from 2012: Domestic Violence: He fractured my skull, but I love him)

This is an important message: It is never your fault when someone physically attacks you.

People who have experienced sustained physical and other abuse frequently find this difficult to really believe. I then have this kind of conversation with them:

Me: Do you think I’m going to hit you?

Them: No.

Me: Do you think you could do anything that would make me hit you?

Them (usually after a short pause): Probably not

Me: You’re right. Absolutely not. There is nothing you could do that would make me hit you.

Them: Ok…

Me: So then, if you can prokoke one person to hit you and you can’t provoke another person to hit you, then who is responsible for them hitting you, them, or you?

Them (puzzled): Errr…

Me: I’ll tell you who. Them! Whenever someone hits you they have a choice not to. You cannot force someone to hit you – that’s what you just said about me!

… that sort of thing. It does get the point across, but people need to be reminded and encouraged in this, because the abuse cycle is a form of mental programming, which is tough to unravel.

I talk a bit about the psychological effects of abuse in an article called “The Psychological Gospel“.

Here are the take-away messages:

  • You are not responsible for another person’s bad behaviour.
  • You do not, did not, and cannot cause someone to abuse you. If they abuse you then they are an abuser.
  • Abusers will manipulate you into thinking you are causing the abuse. This is a trick to keep you under control.
  • You are not alone. Many people suffer precisely what you do. They are all forced to keep quiet about it too.
  • (… and most importantly) Help is available. A great place to start, for advice and resources, is DV Connect.

 

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