Love Hurts? An Interview About Domestic Violence with Vision of Hope Ministries

19 09 2010

Black and blue is not the color of love. But sometimes people paints it to others who they suppose to give their love. We shouldn’t  expect domestic violence in a relationship but in this fallen world we need to open our eyes to reality.  It really happens. A nightmare comes true when boy beats girl. A very painful truth.

Jason Sweeton of Vision of Hope Ministries gave us some dose of this sad reality and much more as we talk about domestic violence.

ROCK Ministry: First let me ask about your ministry and who do you minister?

Jason Sweeton: Vision of Hope Ministries is a Christian counseling ministry. We were started to minister to the victims of domestic violence. We also counsel teens in their many issues from cutting, depression, and sexual abuse. We counsel the victims of sexual abuse and post traumatic stress disorder. Our counseling centers also provide family and marriage counseling. Our centers treat much more though. We have counseled everyone from people that don’t go to church to pastors and missionaries and their families.

V.O.H.M. was started as an answer to a local problem in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. God had been dealing with my mother Joyce Sweeton for some time to start a ministry for battered women. At the time I was serving as the chaplain of the Chattanooga Rescue Mission. C.R.M. is a emergency homeless shelter in Chattanooga. I noticed women and children being brought to the shelter by the police from domestic assault situations. The women and children would stay at the most a couple of days and return to there abusers. I realized the women felt they had no choice. C.R.M. didn’t have the facilities to help them.

In 1997 I resigned from C.R.M. and with my mother we started V.O.H.M. to help the victims of domestic violence. The ministry God called us to do has grown beyond our expectations. We have ministered to 4,745 women 23,725 children 1,265 men in the past thirteen years. God has blessed us with the opportunity to lead 14,867 people to Lord Jesus Christ. We now have ministries in four states here in the U.S.

V.O.H.M. administers counseling centers, clothing and food distributing ministries for the homeless and poverty-stricken. V.O.H.M. has three 24/7 hour mission churches in Georgia and Tennessee. We have 11 full time missionaries and 54 volunteers. God has allowed us to counsel women and men in sixty five countries by way of the internet. Men and women who need help but we would never be able to reach any other way. God has blessed us so much. Our key purpose is to help people. We know no better way to help people than to share Jesus Christ with them. Jesus is at the center of everything we do here at V.O.H.M.

ROCK Ministry: I have a straight forward question: Why do guys sometimes beat girls?

Jason Sweeton: A batterer abuses because he wants to, and thinks he has a “right” to his behavior. He may think he is superior to his partner and is entitled to use whatever means necessary to control her.

ROCK Minstry:  Why does this kind of violence commonly happens in a relationship?

Jason Sweeton: Domestic violence often occurs because men may believe:
1 they have the right to “control” their female partners in any way necessary.
2 “masculinity” is physical aggressiveness
3 they “possess” their partner.
4 they should demand intimacy.
5 they may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive toward their girlfriends.

ROCK Ministry: What are common abuse women undergoes in domestic violence
Jason Sweeton: Domestic Violence includes a wide range of abuse including:
1 Physical Assaults
2 Sexual Assault
3 Psychological abuse
4 Threats
5 Intimidation
6 Emotional abuse
7Isolation
8 Manipulation of children
9 Economic control
10 Destruction of property or pets

RM: What are the physical and emotional trauma attached to those experience?

JS: Victims of domestic violence often experience emotional systems like:
1 Having unwanted thoughts or pictures in the mind about the abuse when nothing’s happening to remind you;
2 Suddenly reliving the abuse as if it’s happening again;
3 Getting distressed or upset when reminded of the abuse;
4 Having the kinds of physical reactions when being reminded of the abuse that it’s usual for people to get when they’re frightened, like the heart beating faster, the breathing speeding up, the muscles getting tense, getting butterflies in the stomach, and other things;
5 Trying to avoid thoughts and feelings that remind you of the abuse;
6 Trying to avoid conversations, activities, people and places that remind you of the abuse;
7 Being unable to remember some important things about the abuse;
8 Losing interest in things like the job you were doing before, or the social activities or other things you used to like;
9 Feeling detached or cut off from people around you;
10 Feeling emotionally numb; so that would mean being unable to experience some feelings, perhaps loving or joyful ones, and being unable to cry;
11 Feeling as if you’re bound to die before your time or that you won’t achieve anything in life; not expecting to live to raise children to adulthood, or to be able to get a good job, and so on.
12 Having difficulty falling or staying asleep;
13 Feeling anger and grief about what happened.

RM: How can someone who says he loves a girl ever raise his hands to that girl?

JS: This one will be fairly simple, he can’t. love is not just word and feelings it is actions. Violence at it’s root is an action of selfishness and hate not love.

RM: What are the signs that most likely identify an abusive partner?

JS: Early warning signs that your date may eventually become abusive:
1 Extreme jealousy
2 Controlling behavior
3 Quick involvement
4 Unpredictable mood swings
5 Alcohol and drug use
6 Explosive anger
7 Isolates you from friends and family
8 Uses force during an argument
9 Shows hypersensitivity
10 Believes in rigid sex roles
11 Blames others for his problems or feelings
12 Cruel to animals or children
13 Verbally abusive
14 Abused former partners
15 Threatens violence

Common clues that indicate a teenager may be experiencing dating violence:
1 Physical signs of injury
2 Truancy, dropping out of school
3 Failing grades
4 Indecision
5 Changes in mood or personality
6 Use of drugs/alcohol
7 Pregnancy
8 Emotional outburst

RM:  What should a girlfriend do if she wants to get out of this relationship?

JS: Gather the support of your friends and family. Confide in your friends about your situation. Your friends and family should help for the first couple of weeks after your break up.

Make sure your mind is clear when you break up with your boyfriend.

If your afraid your boyfriend may harm you after you tell him you want to break up, take at least one friend with you, keep a cell phone by you at all times, and have another one of your friends waiting in a car outside so you can quickly escape.

If you are afraid of him harming your friends and family, do not even tell him about breaking up. Gather all your belongings ( Without him noticing of course) and leave immediately. Notify him that you have left him, and tell him that you are going to file a restraining order against him. This should be enough incentive for him to leave you alone.

File a restraining order against him. Do not answer his calls or texts.

Make sure he doesn’t know where you are. You may have to live in motels for a couple of weeks, but in the end, it will be better than having him find you. If you have children, keep your children with you at all times.

RM: There are girls who undergone this abuse and feels that no one will ever love them. What can you say to those girls who feel hopeless?

JS: The thing you need to keep in mind domestic and dating violence is an isolating experience. Let them know they are not alone. Simply put be a friend. Never push them to do anything they are not ready for. It will only make them feel more isolated and alone. Let them know you love them and will always be there for them. Above all else let them know Jesus loves them and is concerned about there suffering. When they are ready to seek help be prepared to act quickly.

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