The Face–and Soul–of Abuse

Cindy Burrell at has linked the video that I have re-posted below. Her blog post is titled: “The Face of Abuse.” Her site and her ministry provide much help to people “on the other side” of videos such as this, as well as to those new to dealing with this nightmare.

The video clip is a powerful testimony to the reality of overt abuse.

But what the viewer doesn’t see is the damage caused by the covert abuse, the young woman’s undoubted loss of safety, confidence, hope, self-esteem, perhaps faith in God, in others (certainly the “other” who did these things to her); her dreams of love, and even, as she implies, her dreams of a tomorrow as her core erodes in the onslaught against her, and terror reaches critical mass.

Her countenance, even as it becomes increasingly marred over time by the abuse, tells much, much more of the story…

But, odd as this may sound, the physical damage may actually help her get help in a world that is wont to respond with “Well, then, why does she stay?,” its voice edged in irritation–and its own fears, if honest.

At least the external bruises and scars that indicate  a “regular assault,” so to speak, are more apt to prompt sympathy and assistance.

But it’s the “irregular assault,” if you will, prompted by whatever evil lurks in the criminal who deems him/herself entitled in some twisted way to attack, that does the longest lasting and most insidious damage.

Perhaps most dangerous of all are those who threaten with, “I’ll never leave a mark.”

The physical evidence might indicate blunt-object force to skin or bone, but the evidence manifest in the hidden places often indicates the weaponry of destructive words and threats–or a pattern of same–to vulnerable heart, mind, soul, and spirit, bleeding out, at length, as the young woman in the video manifests, even the hope of survival. Or, it might indicate neglect, abandonment, and contempt–equally as damaging.

Perhaps the most tragic cases involve religious “leaders” who deny, misinterpret, blame the victim, and/or counsel the crime victim to pray more or behave better or consider her own role in the crimes, or (fill in the blank, there are a lot of mechanisms used to avoid and deny).

I once heard a “lay counselor,” talking about the victims of domestic violence, quip, “Well, the big problem with women like that is that they keep going back.”

I would counter, “No, the biggest problem with women (and some men) like that is that within the context of the unique warp and woof of each one’s mind, heart, emotions, psyche, spirit, upbringing, and even religious indoctrination (as opposed to the deliverance Gospel of true Christianity), we may never know why ‘she (or he) stays,’ but that’s not the issue.

The issue remains: saving the victims of weapons wielded against flesh and bone–and against heart, mind, and spirit.”

And, of course, confronting the criminal.

Which is, at the core, how Christ would have us address it.

Warning: some pictures are hard to view.

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4 Responses to The Face–and Soul–of Abuse

  1. healingInHim says:

    “”The issue remains: saving the victims of weapons wielded against flesh and bone–and against heart, mind, and spirit.””
    How I hurt for the many victims. My father abused my mother terribly. My husband doesn’t physically beat me; there has been sexual abuse in varying forms and oh so many mind games for almost four decades. I am tired and many years ago I told him I wished he would just beat me once and throw me out on the street so others could know the truth. He didn’t yell; no, he just let others abuse me and stood by and condoned it:-(
    Yeah, so why did I stay* …. believing in the promises … thinking, ‘one day it will be better’ — one day leads to a week, a month, …. until you realize that the individual(s) involved have no intention of truly honouring the Lord with their lives which would mean a lack of abuse towards the one who had remained faithful AND hopeful.
    *(Legal separation papers filled out — not sure what the future holds; it’s in the Lord’s hands) praying for a way of escape.


    • pnissila says:

      I apologize for taking so long to reply!

      Yes, the mind games, gaslighting, and contempt in one form or another are much harder to take…

      I know there will be a way for you to have resolution. Be sure to access all the support you can as you proceed.

      At least you will be physically safe, it sounds like.

      Praying for you.


  2. I’m so glad you re-posted this and elaborated. I would love to see its reach multiplied!


    • pnissila says:

      Thank you! I originally tried to post a comment on your site with a much briefer version of the post, however, for the second time (I attempted to comment on your previous post, too), the Gotcha mechanism would not let me proceed. Is there still a WordPress option somewhere to be able to comment on your posts? 🙂


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