“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 Jun 1, 2014
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Mike," and I are young newlyweds and adjusting to our new life quite well. However, while we both come from deeply religious families, we are both nonbelievers, which has caused some strife within the family.

Mike has several nieces and nephews (ages 4 to 9) who have asked us repeatedly why we don't go to church with them, since the whole family attends together. Their mother has made it clear that they do not want the children knowing there is another option besides Christianity, and I understand, since their faith is so important to them. But I don't want to lie to the kids or ignore their questions. Is there a tactful way to answer their questions without stepping on toes?-- NEVER ON SUNDAY

DEAR NEVER: You could respond by saying, "Your uncle and I have other plans." And if the kids ask what they are, tell them what you plan to do that day. If they ask why you don't come to church like they do, tell them that because they are children they need to learn about their religion. When they are adults, they can choose to go -- or not.

While I respect your in-laws' desire to practice their faith, I think it is unrealistic to try to keep children in the dark because as soon as they hit school -- unless they are home-schooled or in a church-run school -- they are going to meet other kids who worship differently or not at all.

DEAR ABBY: I am a male victim of domestic violence. I was traumatized for five years at the hands of my ex. I suffered through name-calling, physical and sexual abuse. Once, when she was upset, she hit me with her car and dragged me across our parking lot.

I tried several times to leave only to find that in my community there was no help for men in situations like mine. There are women's shelters everywhere, but none that cater to men and their children. I ended up having to return home, and things just got worse.

I finally left with the shirt on my back and a few belongings. Because I couldn't find help, I slept on the street.

I am now a survivor and attending school to become a social worker. I have been trying to raise awareness of men as abuse victims, but it's an uphill battle. Why?-- EMPOWERED IN CENTRAL WISCONSIN

DEAR EMPOWERED: It's probably because of outdated gender stereotypes and lack of awareness by the law enforcement in your community that women as well as men can be psychopaths. When your wife ran you down in the parking lot, she should have wound up behind bars, assuming the police were called.

While female-on-male domestic violence is reported less often than male-on-female violence, it does happen, as anyone who reads my column regularly knows. Men who need help should call the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women -- the toll-free number is 88 ^8-74#3-57^54 -- because help is available.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Jun 1, 2014
1. The nieces are in the middle of "Give me a child until he is 7 and he is mine for life" phase [I know the numbers are off].

LW's siblings want to make sure it sticks.

A gentle deflection is good.

2. Good for you. You got out and left the kids behind? Way to turn a sympathetic position into the opposite.
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#3 Jun 1, 2014
LW1 - Can of worms, that one. I think the advice to tell the kids "We have other plans" is good as far as it goes, but if the whole family goes to church every Sunday, and the LW and hubby have "other plans" every Sunday, that is going to sound fishy to the kids quite soon. Tell the kids you don't go to church, and if they ask why, then refer them to the parents.

The parents who want to their 9yos t think that there is no other option but Christianity are delusional. Kids will find out sooner or later. If they go to a public school, they already know that at least there are different types of Christianity. If they go to a church school, they'll find out anyway. Even if the LW's family lives in the Bible Belt, there are atheists, agnostics, and people belonging to non-Christian religions around, however few of them there are in some areas.

LW2 - This is a sad situation, and I hope awareness that abuse is not directed at women only continues to grow.

PEllen, I disagree with you, though. Yes, I think a parent who flees an abusive spouse and leaves the kids behind sounds awful, but sometimes that is the only way to get out and start on getting yourself into the position where you CAN get your kids out as well. If the wife had killed him, he wouldn't be much help to the kids, would he?

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#5 Jun 1, 2014
Cass wrote:
LW2 - This is a sad situation, and I hope awareness that abuse is not directed at women only continues to grow.
PEllen, I disagree with you, though. Yes, I think a parent who flees an abusive spouse and leaves the kids behind sounds awful, but sometimes that is the only way to get out and start on getting yourself into the position where you CAN get your kids out as well. If the wife had killed him, he wouldn't be much help to the kids, would he?
Except that in the past he stayed because there were no shelters for men and their children. Something changed. We don't know what except insofar as the letter shows he got out and the kids are still with his ex. He says nothing about how he is trying to get the kids away from her, or there is a custody fight or he is working through CPS on the kids, etc

Not my kind of person.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#6 Jun 1, 2014
1: I also think Abby's response on this is rather weak but I doubt there's an easy solution. The parents may very well decide to cut off their contact with the kids if they don't follow the parents' directions. I don't think the parents have the right to tell the lw to lie though considering lying is a sin according to most Christian denominations. I'd suggest they ask the children's parents how they should handle the question other than by telling the kids that they don't attend church. The parents are the ones putting up the road block; they should be the ones to come up with a response that is both truthful and acceptable to the lw and her husband. In other words it should not be something along the lines of, "We don't attend church and yes, we're probably going to go to h--- when we die."

2: I can understand the circumstances might not have made it possible for the lw to take his kids with him. He should have documented each episode of abuse - even if it was just in written form like a journal or diary. He should have called the police each and every time the abuse became physical - especially the one when she hit him with the car. The fact that he didn't report her probably means he was afraid of being thought a wimp being beat up by a woman. I guess that's a common fear men have but really they should "man up" and report the woman. It would seem it takes more guts to admit being beat up than facing the physical abuse in the future. So yes, that's why I say "man up." If the police don't believe you or follow up, seek legal advice about how to handle the lack of police protection. Look at it this way. For decades or longer (and probably still now), women have been afraid to report rape because they know they will have difficulty having their rapist brought to justice. They have had to face accusations in court (from the defense) that they are at fault for their rapes themselves. Men face difficulty making abuse accusations but if people don't report these things, they are perpetuated. It's hard but it needs to be done. So call those hotlines for advice and possibly actual help in dealing with these situations. I suspect that when each person reaches out for help, the easier it becomes for the next victim to ask for help. Police used to view domestic violence as a private matter rather than a police matter. They are now better informed and are mandated to treat this kind of problem as any other violent crime. So things are progressing.
boundary painter

Waco, TX

#7 Jun 1, 2014
Glance into the next month for "Mr & Mrs Mike":
(a) When the nephews and nieces asked, they sweetly said "We go some where else."
(b) They limited contact with the relatives, but were polite and cordial to them
(c) They each circled those issues that had driven both of them away from church in the first place--and considered how what they believed and don't believe can best harmonize with the family.
or
(d) other

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#8 Jun 1, 2014
The LW says this, "There are women's shelters everywhere, but none that cater to men and their children."
Nowhere does he say that he and his wife have children.
So, he may not have left any children in the home when he escaped.
Just saying.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#9 Jun 1, 2014
NWmoon wrote:
The LW says this, "There are women's shelters everywhere, but none that cater to men and their children."
Nowhere does he say that he and his wife have children.
So, he may not have left any children in the home when he escaped.
Just saying.
You're right about the children. I wasn't paying attention but took that from other comments. If there are children, it makes sense to try to get them out of the situation. But of course the letter doesn't mention his having children at all. Either they don't have children or the lw isn't considering them as being in a difficult situation or doesn't care. I have to go with the first situation - no kids in this marriage. He only mentions children in connection with there being a lack of shelters for abused men and their children - no mention that he himself has children.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#10 Jun 2, 2014
L1: I like the idea of asking the parents what their response should be and object to any lying. The parents of the kids are idiots, though.

L2: I would think that people in this position have been mentally and physically worn and that keeping track of the beatings, etc. would be overwhelming. Not only do you have to worry that the abuser sees you writing it, I'd imagine that you'd worry they'd find the list. First thing to do would find someone to be on your side and look out for you -- whether a social worker, psychologist, therapist, doctor, friend or neighbor.

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