Tag Archives: human rights

Obama Talks Peace to Iran, But Dishes Out Violence

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Obama Talks Peace to Iran, But Dishes Out Violence

by Jamasb Madani, April 09, 2013

 

Four years ago, President Barack Obama quoted the beloved 13th century Persian poet Sa’di in his first Nowruz message to the Iranian people. The address, with its veneer of peace and diplomacy, was a well-received gesture to both civil society and the leadership in Tehran, recognizing the Islamic Republic and celebrating the country’s ancient culture and history.

In this year’s Nowruz message, on March 18, 2013, President Obama recited more medieval Persian poetry, this time a famous 14th century poem from Hafez about friendship.

An informal and casual survey of public opinion on the heels of this address suggest that Obama’s renewed efforts to tap the well of goodwill failed to resonate with many Iranians. This time around, Obama’s speech has been received a somewhat negative response.

Over the past few years, U.S. hostility and pressure toward Iran has reached a critical level. As a result of draconian sanctions and a resulting drastic drop in oil revenues, Iran’s economy, currency, and people are hurting.

Many essential and non-essential goods have been subject to sanctions, both old and new. Measures preventing the sale of spare airplane parts to Iran have long made air travel unsafe, threatening the well-being of civilian passengers. More recently, unilateral sanctions imposed by certain Western countries have cut Iran off from the international banking industry, resulting in severe shortages in medicines and rising food prices that place the lives of millions of Iranians at risk.

While Obama’s Nowruz messages represent an attempt to achieve a sort of ‘cultural connectedness’ between Americans and Iranians, the U.S. government seems unaware of how its policies and actions toward Iran cut against these efforts.

During Iran’s post-reform years in late 1990′s, certain key terms became central to the Reformist discourse. Concepts such as ‘pluralism’, ‘tolerance’ (tasahol/tasamoh), and especially the term “violence” (khoshoonat’garaee) took on a deeper and more comprehensive meaning.

Based on a wider reading of the concept of violence, Iranian civil society has not only viewed the assassination of its scientists as a direct form of violence, but has also considered unilateral and crippling sanctions to be instruments of violence against the Iranian people.

These and other similar measures undermine the administration’s attempts to appeal to Iranians’ cultural sensibilities. Ironically, as President Obama delivered his first Nowruz message in 2009, urging Iran’s government to “unclench” its fists, his administration was accelerating a covert, cyber warfare initiative launched by the Bush administration, codenamed “Olympic Games.”

In the years that followed, as Obama delivered other Nowruz messages, the United States conspired with Israel to develop and launch additional attacks of cyber-terrorism against Iran, such as Stuxnet and Flame.

In the Iranian public psyche, cyber attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities are not mere technological sabotage, but rather instill collective fear and anxiety about damage to nuclear installations that threaten the safety of the Iranian population.

And let’s not forget the looming threat of direct military attack. With each passing year, and with every Nowruz message, the level of both real and potential American violence against Iran and Iranians has escalated.

As the targets of these threats, victims of collective punishment and the bearers of U.S.-imposed hardship, Iranians feel that Obama’s actions coupled with his recitation of the poetry of Sa’di or Hafez make for a disturbing juxtaposition.

In Hafez’s poetry and ethos, duplicity, hypocrisy, and pretense are considered major sins. It is fitting then that a group of democracy activists in Iran, in conversation with this writer, have suggested Obama reflect on the message of another Hafez poem:

Preachers who lecture others in the pulpit
in private, away from the public gaze, they do otherwise.
I have a concern; ask this question from the wise one in the group
those who order us to repent; they, themselves don’t consider any repentance?

Daryoush Mohammad Poor, an opposition activist who has translated the statements of former Iranian presidential candidate and reformist politician Mir Hossein Mousavi into English, was similarly offended by Obama’s Nowruz message this year.

In a critical essay posted in both Persian and English on his website, “Malakoot,” Mohammad Poor writes that the American-Iranian impasse is not binary. For instance, as he explains, just because he is connected with the Iranian opposition, does not mean he will be silent about the devastating and lethal effects of Obama’s policies on the people of Iran.

Mohammad Poor addresses Obama directly, writing, “Remember, Hafez was – and still is – a great social critic of the conditions of his time. His strength lay in his being outside the circle of power. He was the voice of the powerless. He was never a two-term president of a superpower nation. If he lived today, he would probably be highly critical of you, too, as he would be critical of the leaders of Iran.”

With few exceptions, the opposition in and outside Iran explicitly opposes both unilateral and UN Security Council sanctions against the country. The anti-imperial legacy of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq, who was ousted during a CIA-led coup in 1953, still permeates the present Zeitgeist and ethos in Iran. As such, despite economic hardships and the relative popularity of Voice of America among some opposition members, so far the American/French/British axis has failed to cultivate any notable support for either foreign intervention or collaboration. As things currently stand, Iranians across the political spectrum blame the United States, and less, their own government, for their economic woes.

U.S. hegemonic domination has its internal contradictions and cannot avoid double standards, inconsistencies, and half-truths. But Hafez, the ‘elder of kharbat’, is precisely the antithesis of duplicity (riya). The term kharabat in Hafez’s poetry symbolizes a tavern, a gathering place where there is no pretense (tazvir), only the opportunity to be true to one another.

Those who threaten others with military aggression and destruction, those who unleash economic war and hardship and instill fear in the hearts of their victims, those who manipulate international organizations for their own ends, and make life difficult for so many people should not reference Hafez. In fact, Hafez is perhaps the last poet they should invoke, since his central message is to condemn hubris and selfishness (a’een khod’parasti).

A substantial number of Iranians believe that Barack Obama, who has relatives in Kenya and Indonesia, studied progressive politics at Columbia University and broke bread with public intellectuals like Edward Said, is a worldly, decent and dignified person.

But in the context of American hegemony, as the executor of oppressive policies toward Iran, Obama has become a perplexing puzzle for Iranians. For four years, Obama’s Nowruz messages have led the Iranian collective psyche to compartmentalize his various actions. The orchestrated hostility of the “American Regime,” the pain and suffering directed by the United States toward Iran are all changing this approach.

At the same time, the symbolism and dichotomy of Obama’s Nowruz messages, coupled with the history of U.S. structural violence against Iranian society, may provide a glimpse into the bigger picture behind Obama’s inconsistencies. In his capacity as president, Obama may have no choice but to bow to long-term American policies toward Iran. Many Iranians, in fact, maintain that the real culprit is not Obama, but rather an institutional form of thinking and worldview to which Obama himself is bound.

Unfortunately, it seems the president’s ideals are also victims of this power structure.

Rather than trying to appropriate Persian poetry to blunt American aggression, Obama would do well to heed the words of Hafez himself. Only then may he truly begin to pursue peace instead of issuing ultimatums. As Hafez poignantly observed,

Engage in love (of humanity) before it is too late; or the life-purpose given to you by the world will be wasted.

*Jamasb Madani is an architect and writer. His grandfather was an activist and strong supporter of Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq.

This piece was originally published at Mufta.org

 

http://original.antiwar.com/jamasb-madani/2013/04/08/obama-talks-peace-to-iran-but-dishes-out-violence/

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Ancient Africa Practiced True Democracy

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Ancient Africa Practiced True Democracy

By Black T Bvumavaranda

Ancient System of Checks and Balances

African leaders have often been portrayed as unyielding and brainless people for whom remorse and morality are completely disjoined from power and authority. In the West, our leaders are often caricatured as clueless goofballs in suits but who are above the law and can commit the most embarrassing cases of common theft and abuse of poor and defenceless people with impunity.

This terrible stereotype has received unfortunate support from the behaviour of our post-colonial autocratic leaders who, barring some military coup or popular uprising, mysteriously prefer to die in power. These leaders often cite the ancient African political order in which a leader was only removed from power by death.

Black Technocrat

However, the traditional setup was totally different from what the post-colonial pretenders want us to believe. While the post-colonial African leadership deeply detests accountability and the rule of law, the traditional leadership structure had a complex mechanism for accountability and the counterbalance of power.

Mambo did not rule as an absolute king for one simple reason. The social order was subdivided into two separate but equally powerful areas; (i) the secular or political order and; (ii) the religious order. The king was the leader of the secular institutions of the social order. The priesthood, represented by the chief priest, was responsible for the religious institutions.

The king ensured food security, the maintenance of the rule of law, the fair application of the justice system without fear and favour, defending the state from its enemies, and making sure that all the members of the community acted for the benefit of society over and above individual gains. The king had the power and authority to act to save and serve the people.

For spiritual matters, the priesthood was in charge. Where secular laws and other codes of social conduct were not possible to enforce or simply ineffective, the priesthood offered the complimentary part. The priesthood led petitions made to the ancestors who, in turn, carried the petitions to Mwari.

The two branches were separate but equal. When presiding over secular functions, mambo wore the skin of a lion while the chief priest wore the skin of a leopard. This was to show that the office of mambo was, on such occasions, above that of the priesthood.

During state-related rituals, the chief priest was in charge. To acknowledge his subordinate role, mambo had to wear a leopard skin while the chief priest wore the skin of a lion. The king did not hold both offices. So, his power was kept in check, and vice versa for the priesthood.

There were two additional traditions that also strengthened the system of checks-and-balances of the traditional African social order.

Muzukuru, the nephew of the ruler through his sister, had the role of verbally restraining his uncle, and do so without fear of making the king angry. Muzukuru was actually designated as the pacifier of the king especially when the king was angry or deemed out of control. During disputes within the ruling family, muzukuru was responsibility for restoring order and harmony. There were other functions in which only muzukuru presided over, too.

This role of muzukuru was not confined to the court alone. It was a tradition that was practiced all the way down to the family level. The role of muzukuru has not changed even to this day. That is the third ancient mechanism of checks and balances

The fourth traditional mechanism of checks and balances was the accepted but unsaid contract between the elders and the young members of the community. The youths were expected to be respectful of their elders at all times. For their part, the elders honoured the compact by accepting that at a particular point in their lives, they had to begin the gradual handover, to the young members of the community, the power and authority to run the community.

Way back in antiquity, two proverbs were coined to remind the elders that they held power and authority only in trust, and for the benefit of the young members of the community and those yet to be born. The simplified proverb, kutonga madzoro, served to remind the elders that power and authority, the two levers of leadership, best benefitted the community when others, specifically the youths, were given their turn and opportunity to take over the leadership of the community.

To receive respect from the youths, a proverb, gudo/bvene guru peta muswe kuti vapwere vakuremekedze, was often used to admonish elders who were behaving in manners that made them look less respectable in the eyes of the youth. Our ancestors had observed that a leader of a troop of baboons that did not tuck its tail close to itself often found itself being used as a toy by baby baboons, which was the beginning of the diminishing of that baboon’s influence on the rest of the baboons.

So, our post-colonial leaders are not really following the ancient social arrangement. We have to be judged not by what is going on in our times but by what our forebears put in place. We had a well-defined and efficient system of checks and balances developed and refined over millennia. It worked for millennia, and that is how we survived all these thousands of years. We are familiar with governing and leading because we have been doing it for a long time, or we were until we were disrupted not too long ago.

Do we have a better system of checks and balances now that we have become “civilized” and have adopted alien models that we do not even seem to understand?

I report but you decide.

That is my belated Zimbabwan/African Factoid of The Day, I’m Bvumavaranda BTechno MuRozvi.

http://www.zimeye.org/?p=77096

2013 Annual Report on Global Trends for Human Rights Defenders Published

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2013 Annual Report on Global Trends for Human Rights Defenders Published

annual_report_banner

http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/files/frontline_annual_report2013_0.pdf

On 23 January 2013 Front Line Defenders released its fourth Annual Report on Global Challenges facing Human Rights Defenders around the World in 2012.

The report explores the situation on both the global and regional level including several countries examined in focus namely: Burundi, Vietnam, Guatemala Kazakhstan and Algeria. It highlights the ‘unabated’ targeting of human rights defenders for their work documenting abuses, exposing corruption, or pushing for reform.

“The attacks and killings highlighted in this report are only the tip of the iceberg. In many countries the government has either shut down the local media, subjected human rights organisations to campaigns of intimidation or tried to silence those brave enough to bring the facts to international attention” said Front Line Defenders Executive Director Mary Lawlor.

 

The report highlights:

 

-24 killings of HRDs in 2012

-Physical Attacks on HRDs reported in 28 countries across all regions:

-Attacks on LGBTI human rights defenders in Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, South Africa, Uganda, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe.

-Restrictive legislation passed or under discussion in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Burundi, China, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Lithuania, Moldova, Russian Federation, and Ukraine

-Judicial harassment reported in nearly 40 countries

-Information technology laws used against those expressing dissent or circulating information on human rights abuses, in particular in Asia and the Middle East.

-Reprisals for cooperating with international human rights bodies were reported by HRDs in Bahrain, Belarus, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Sri Lanka

 

 

“The facts speak for themselves”, said Ms Lawlor “The sad reality is that while governments proclaim support for human rights and their respect for the work of human rights defenders in international fora, in practice, human rights defenders face a daily struggle for survival”, added Ms Lawlor.

This report shows how the safe space in which human rights defenders work is consistently shrinking, while their personal credibility is attacked through state sponsored defamation campaigns in which they are routinely portrayed as agents of western/foreign interests. The introduction of restrictive legislation which limits both their work and their ability to source international funding is increasingly used to hamper their work.

The Report highlights the alarmingly high number of killings of human rights defenders and the fact that Front Line Defenders alone has documented physical attacks on human rights defenders in 28 countries and 24 killings of human rights defenders. Conditions for human rights defenders in Africa, Asia and the Middle East continue to be worrying while the report finds that that in many countries in Europe and Central Asia the situation has actually deteriorated.

On the regional level many countries in Africa have seen a series of disturbing ongoing trends including physical violence, and impunity for perpetrators. As noted in the report the murder of two LGBTI rights defenders Thapelo Makhutle in South Africa and Maurice Mjomba in Tanzania illustrate these risks.

Such impunity is also commonly seen in the Americas alongside a common trend, the use, region-wide, of fabricated criminal charges such as those that have resulted in an 18-year prison sentence for Colombian human rights defender David Rabelo Crespo.

Asia has seen the continued usage of smear campaigns against human rights defenders branding them as ‘enemies of the state or as working for foreign interests’. One example of such a case can be seen in India with the branding of P.V. Rajagopal, Vice Chairman of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, as a ‘Maoist sympathiser’.

The situation in Europe and Central Asia is characterised by the increasing use in many countries of legislation to curb the activities of human rights defenders. This is particularly evident in the Russian Federation with a swathe of legislation being implemented including a law designating NGO’s in receipt of foreign funding as ‘foreign agents’.

Finally in the Middle East and North Africa region the report confirms the fears of ‘limited real change’ despite the events of the Arab Spring that ‘gave hope to thousands of people in virtually every country in the region’. In Bahrain in particular almost all of the most vocal human rights defenders were in detention at year’s end including former Front line Defenders staff member Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.

The Report is based on Front Line Defenders’ work in support of human rights defenders at risk. In 2012, Front Line Defenders issued 287 urgent appeals on 460 human rights defenders at risk in 69 countries; it provided 267 security grants and trained 358 human rights defenders. Overall, more than 1150 HRDs benefited from Front Line Defenders’ protection support in 2012.

http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/21376

Russian Federation: Violent attack of peaceful picket in defence of LGBTI rights

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Russian Federation: Violent attack of peaceful picket in defence of LGBTI rights 

On 20 January 2013, a peaceful picket of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights defenders was attacked by counter-protesters in the city of Voronezh. The picket was was organised by local human rights defenders Messrs Andrey Nasonov, Evgeny Chunosov and Pavel Lebedyev against the proposed bill in the Russian Parliament which, if passed, would ban the “propaganda of homosexuality”.

On 17 January 2013, Andrey Nosonov and Pavel Lebedev wrote to the Centre for Combating Extremism, the offices of the local administration and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation regarding multiple death threats they had received from individuals through social media sites, who also threatened to disrupt the planned peaceful picket, for which permission had been sought from the city’s administration. Despite the fact that at least 15 authors of the threats were named individuals, police failed to react to the complaint.

As the picket began on 20 January 2013, more than two hundred counter-protesters had gathered at the scene, who had coordinated their attack through social media sites and many of whom were members of radical right wing and religious groups. The individuals proceeded to shout offensive remarks such as “Beat the faggots”, throw bottles at the protesters and imitate Nazi salutes. Despite police presence at the picket, at least 4 LGBTI rights defenders and their supporters were physically beaten by counter-protesters, while many others were verbally attacked. Police present did not intervene to protect the demonstrators.

Later the same day, LGBTI rights defenders and their supporters, returning from the picket, were confronted by approximately 30 people in a local café, and were threatened with physical violence. The conflict was resolved upon police arrival.

On 21 and 22 January 2013, Andrey Nosonov, Pavel Lebedev and Alexey Kozlov submitted written official complaints to the Investigative Committee regarding the above mentioned violent attack by counter-protesters against peaceful demonstrators, and the failure of police and of the city administration to fulfil their obligation to assure the safety of demonstrators. Front Line Defenders condemns this attack against peaceful protesters and expresses serious concern at the failure of police to react appropriately in order to ensure the security of the protesters.

http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/21367

Give voice to refugees

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Palestinian refugees: time to return NOW

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrMLboOk6Ek

 

Pictures from Khao I Dang refugee camp, Thailand 1980-82.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeGk5BT-l6g

Warning : viewers must be above 18years old

Memories of the Khoa I Dang Refugee Camp 1986 to 1988

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2vLcGV3n-Y

Cambodia Refugee Camp – Site2 (part1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYiJ4oLJyDE

Umpium Refugee Camp in fire 23 02 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GxiMZTgtAA

on fire in Umpiem Camp (MCA News)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My-QqPyl9rQ

Dadaab Refugee Camp – Kenya (Africa)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlHWHLG_pds

A song at Nu Po Camp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDFXW_6UAmY

 

Displaced Karen Refugees in Jungle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGJyO0V34qM

23Kachin IDP/Refugee Camps – March-April-2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFhCbFFE3WE

 

Zaatari Refugee Camp Jordan – 31 Oct 2012.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8BJO7vgIxI

 

Angelina Jolie in a refugee camp in Syria (09-13-2012)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnKqbgl1-mU

 

Angelina Jolie Visits Syrian Refugees in Turkey

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QneALVeUfMQ

Helping a Domestic Violence Victim

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Helping a Domestic Violence Victim

by Focus Ministries
  • Listen to her story and validate her feelings. Even if you know her husband and can’t believe he would do what she is telling you, keep an open mind and give her an opportunity to tell her story.
  • Be aware that she may not see herself as an “abused woman.” Let her know that abuse of any kind is wrong, and name the behavior for what it is without verbally attacking the abuser.
  • Acknowledge her bravery and courage in breaking the silence and seeking help. Realize that she may feel like she is betraying her husband by talking about the abuse. Help her understand she has done the right thing for the whole family to seek help.
  • Assess her level of safety by asking questions about what is currently going on and what abuse has taken place in the past. Ask her to describe her husband’s behavior in various scenarios.
  • Be supportive, but do not tell her what to do. Give her options that will help her make decisions for herself. If she decides to go to a shelter, call a crisis hotline, or make other arrangements to leave, give her the phone number and let her make the call herself. This allows her to be responsible for her own decisions. Exception: In a crisis when she is in danger, take action to help her get to safety.
  • Keep your conversation confidential, and DO NOT contact the abuser to tell him you have been talking to his wife (unless she gives you permission to do so). If he contacts you, DO NOT divulge any information, especially if she has been taken to a safe location. You could endanger her life!
  • Never advise a woman to return home to work things out with her abuser if she has been physically battered or if her life has been threatened. You will place her in greater harm!
  • If the victim chooses to return home against your advice, make sure she knows how to contact you if she needs help. Find out when it would be okay for you to call and find out how she is doing. Don’t try to force her into making a decision she is not ready to make.
  • Realize that you have only heard a part of the story. Don’t minimize the seriousness of the situation just because the victim appears to be strong and brave, or because you can’t believe her husband would act that way. Ask questions and be an attentive listener as the story unfolds.
  • Don’t spend much time deciding who provoked whom. When you see dynamics of fear and control at work in the marriage, it is the abusive behavior that must be confronted.
  • Never counsel the abuser and victim together. It puts the victim in more danger and gives the abuser more power. Most victims will not feel free to talk about what is really going on in the home if the abuser is sitting next to her. He will try to control the conversation and intimidate the victim with words or a look that lets her know she should keep her mouth shut if she knows what’s good for her.
  • Marriage counseling does not work in domestic violence situations.
  • Anger management classes do not work in domestic violence situations. The abuser may learn how to divert his anger from physical abuse to verbal or emotional abuse, but unless his opinions about women and feelings of entitlement are changed, he will repeat his behavior.
  • If the abuser is a member of your church and wants to meet with you, do so in a location where he will not come into contact with his wife.
  • Do not expect him to admit being abusive. He may suggest his wife is mentally unstable and demonstrate a false concern about her mental health. He will minimize his behavior or blame his actions on his wife’s behavior.
  • Refer the victim and abuser to professionals who are experienced with domestic violence issues. Don’t try to deal with the problem alone.
  • Don’t fall for the abuser’s claim that he has changed, even if he does admit being abusive. He may claim a conversion experience, and even if it is real, he should still be held accountable for his actions. An apology, tears, promises, or a religious experience does not eliminate the need for maintaining safety until the change can be verified by time and professional counselors.
  • Do not encourage reconciliation too soon. In the case of physical abuse, safety is the priority. If the abuser has truly changed and wants to do whatever is necessary to restore the marriage, he will be willing to wait as long as it takes to prove himself and rebuild trust.

Ask Questions!

  • When the two of you argue or have a very bad fight, what happens?
  • Do you ever feel frightened of him?
  • Are you free to speak freely to him? What happens when you express an opinion that is different from his?
  • Does he ever throw things or punch holes with his fist?
  • How does he speak to you when he is angry or frustrated?
  • Does he pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to?
  • How does he react when you want to go out with friends or family?
  • Has he ever slapped or pushed you, hit you or threatened you?
  • Have you told anyone?

A woman is in imminent danger if . . .

  • He has threatened her life. Take it seriously!
  • He has weapons in the house or has recently bought a gun.
  • He has locked her in the house.
  • He has killed or injured her pet.
  • She sustained multiple injuries each time he battered her in the past.
  • She has threatened to leave, and he has threatened to hurt or kill himself, the children, and her if she leaves.
  • He talks about dreams involving murder (either hers or his).

Wrong Things To Say To A Battered Woman:

  • What did you do to provoke him?
  • Pray harder—prayer changes things.
  • Go home and cook your husband his favorite meal, put on your best dress, and give him a little more attention.
  • You must do whatever you can to hold your marriage together, even if it means suffering for Jesus.
  • The Bible says your husband is the head of your household. If you submit to him and become more obedient, he will not resort to violence.
  • Your children need a father, so it is up to you to keep the family together

Statements of Affirmation To The Victim:

  • You are not alone.
  • Abuse is wrong. It is not your fault.
  • You did not deserve being hit.
  • You are not responsible for his behavior.
  • You have a right to see your family.
  • No one deserves to be talked to that way.
  • Your first responsibility is to protect yourself and your children.
  • God does not condone abuse. He wants you to be safe.
  • God will not abandon you regardless of your choices.

Statements to Confront the Abuser:

  • I am here to support you, but I want you to know that I think it is wrong to hit or hurt another person.
  • I will not desert you, but I will not excuse your behavior either.
  • As long as you choose to be violent, I will not provide joint counseling. We cannot discuss relationship issues until you stop being violent.
  • By not stopping the abuse, you may go to jail or lose your family. If you want to stop the abuse, you must join a group treatment program where you will learn to value your wife’s freedom and worth as a person more than your need to control.
Originally appeared on http://www.focusministries1.org. Copyright © 2004 Focus Ministries, Inc. Used with permission.