“I feel like there’s nothing I can do! I feel trapped!”
Day after day, week after week, I sit across from people – women, mostly – who cry these words out as they describe the oppressive conditions they live under.
We hear an ever-increasing number of voices being raised against domestic violence and domestic abuse. And that’s wonderful!
“S’about time!” I say!
What I don’t hear anyone talking about is “Domestic Oppression.” In fact, when I mention domestic oppression, I get looks of confusion and cognitive dissonance from people.
Thankfully, in doing a Google search this morning, I was encouraged to discover that one of my blog posts from four years ago finally moved into second place!
Are you KIDDING ME?!
Sorry. But this is ridiculous! How is it that the seedbed of domestic abuse isn’t part of the conversation about domestic abuse?
Okay. Let me take a deep breath and see if we can get on the same page here…
Let’s start with the working definition of domestic oppression from an upcoming book about domestic oppression that I am collaborating on (If you use this, give proper credit, please?):
Domestic Oppression: Domestic oppression is an ongoing pattern of intimidating and domineering behavior employed by one family member to control one or more other family members. A superior/inferior, hierarchical power differential is established, maintained, and increased more and more as time goes on.
Let’s talk a little about the perpetrators thereof:
Domestic oppressors systematically tyrannize, intimidate, threaten, emotionally coerce, dehumanize, objectify, demean, degrade, manipulate, and bully at least one other person within the family home—usually their spouse. This closely matches the description of terrorism.
Domestic oppressors (DOs) fall somewhere along a spectrum of emotional predation, ranging from harmful exploitation on the less dangerous end to the Dark Triad on the other. On the low end are those whose default is to objectify others and use them as resources to get their needs met.
On the other end are those who are a great danger to others, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, soul-ly, or a combination of any or all of these.
This morning, I (again) sat across from a woman who gave detailed descriptions of a “head-of-household” using intimidation, manipulation, coercion, demeaning, degrading, bullying, and finally low-grade violence [physical aggression without striking or kicking] to dominate and control the members of his family.
The chief targets of this behavior are his several daughters, some of whom are grown yet still living at home because of the oppressive “Covering Theology” the family has fallen for.
After she left, I was alerted to a news story from the NY Times that mega-church pastor and Word of Faith preacher Creflo Dollar was arrested after he choked and punched his 15-year-old daughter.
When you read the news story, you can see the tendrils of the domestic oppression in this family system. Again, domestic oppression is the seedbed for domestic violence!
“Dollar’s 19-year-old daughter corroborated most of her sister’s story, but Dollar disputed it, telling a sheriff’s deputy he was trying to restrain her when she became disrespectful. When she began to hit back, he wrestled her to the floor and spanked her, according to the police report.” (emphasis added)
The story goes on to describe what, in my experience, is an entitled oppressor enforcing his supposed power and authority over a weaker family member and resorting to violence in order to prove his right to dominate.
So, let’s start speaking and speaking well about domestic oppression, shall we?
Oh, and just so we don’t forget to get God’s opinion about all this, God speaks about oppression 84 times in Scripture (the equivalent of how many times He speaks about sexual impurity, fornication, and adultery).
Jesus Himself said, ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send the oppressed away in liberty”” (Luke 4:18 NET)
OPPRESSION IS A BIG DEAL TO GOD AND HE’S AGAINST IT! And it absolutely is not to be happening in “Christian” churches and “Christian” families.
More on this will be forthcoming soon, I promise! There is a lot more that needs to be discussed – especially in and by the church.
Please be in prayer for these families I mentioned, including Mr. Dollar’s. God wants the oppressed rescued and the oppressors redeemed.
And He has a whole lot of justice stacking up against these evildoers if they do not repent (“Woe to you…).
Soli Deo Gloria