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


The Word on the Street


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


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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