Dr. Dobson, you got it wrong. No doubt you are smarter than I am, but you still got it wrong. And, I confess Dr. Dobson, I am angry about your post (read it here) and so I am sure there will be a bit more sarcasm than usual. But you got it wrong.
Most studies I read indicate that anywhere from 25-33% of the women in the United States are in relationships where there is physical abuse taking place. That means 1 out of 4 or 1 out of 3 of the women we all see at the grocery store, gas station and walking their cute children around our neighborhoods are being hit by their spouses or partners. These are real people, people we know, living in very real fear because the danger around them is not made up but is very real.
Dr. Dobson I believe it is irresponsible to encourage Laura, or any person in an abusive relationship, to provoke the abuser. In fact, I believe it is even irresponsible to encourage her to stay in the house. In her letter to you, which you replicated on your post, indicates that not only does he rage at her, but does so at the children as well. She, and so many others, is in physical (as well as psychological, emotional and spiritual) danger as indicated that she is being beaten with his fists, has had teeth loosened, been cut, and in fear for her life. She is even in fear for having contacted you!
What if the next fit of rage happens while she is near stairs? What if during the next exchange she is hit so hard she falls and hits her head on something hard sustaining a closed head brain injury? What if they are in the kitchen and he happens to have a knife in his hand?
I wonder how the trauma of being beaten is impacting Laura’s understanding of God’s love and grace? I wonder what their children are learning about being men and women? I wonder…
I wonder who will raise their children if he accidentally kills her in his rage? Did you know that each day, 3 women die from domestic abuse?
Dr. Dobson, I wish you had encouraged Laura, and others in her situation, to find a safe place for herself and her children. I wish you had offered to help Laura created a safe exit strategy.
Laura, your husband’s rage is not your fault. You and your children ARE NOT responsible for his violence. You were not created to be the recipient of his violent outbursts. Loving your husband does not mean staying in a dangerous situation. You were created in the image of God and you are deeply loved by him. There is pain in leaving, but there is no shame or condemnation.
And while I know there are no simple answers and the ramifications of domestic violence runs deep, I do know the answer is not to stay and provoke him until his rage is uncontrollable again. It takes great courage to leave an abusive spouse. I know, I have helped others do so. And your leaving may just be enough to create the crisis needed for him to seek help.
Laura, the toughest, but maybe the most loving thing you can do, for your husband, your children and yourself, is to leave and find a safe haven.