Being Pro Life: Domestic Violence
Carol was happily married, until she became pregnant with her first child. She then started getting hit for a variety of reasons such as now being ugly, or not doing things quickly enough. At first she was too embarrassed to say anything to her family, but eventually the bruises became too difficult to hide or explain away. Overall, her family discouraged divorce and encouraged her to figure out how to make it work, so she stayed. One night she was beaten so badly she ended up in the hospital. He visited her in the hospital once, then left town, and called that he wasn’t coming back.
Why don’t people in an abusive relationships just leave? There can be many reasons. Abusers are often so controlling that the victim doesn’t have the financial or social structures available to have anywhere else to go. Abusers also often charming to others and have many friends who can defend them in court, so the abused may find it difficult to fight that battle as well. Perhaps the most pressing reason is that an abused person often fears for her life, or that of her children, if she leaves. There are many other factors as well, so it is important to just recognize it is not as easy as it sounds.
More than 20,000 calls per day are made to domestic violence hotlines in the United States. It is a big problem, and the Catholic Church recognizes it as such. The U.S. Bishops strongly condemn it and offer guidance for parishes in its 2002 document, When I Call For Help.
To check out the interview with Carol and others, and find resources for your parish to help those experience Domestic Violence, check out our dedicated page at https://resources.catholicaoc.org/offices/respect-life-ministries/issues/domestic-violence