Honouring Resistance – a wonderful resource for understanding abuse

Honouring Resistance: How Women Resist Abuse in Intimate Relationships (34 page PDF)  explains that every person resists abuse and that abusers choose their behavior. 

Choosing to Change is a companion document to “Honouring Resistance.”  it is a handbook for men concerned about maintaining their relationships that might be threatened by abusive behaviour towards those they love.

Both these booklets are produced by the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, Canada, and can be downloaded from their site for free.

We have had a link to publications from the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter on our Resources Page for some time, but I thought it would be good to highlight Honouring Resistance in a special post, because I think it’s such an excellent resource. It gives a victim’s story of domestic abuse, and then explains all the ways she resisted the abuse. Victims find that when they look at their experience from the framework of how they resisted the abuse, rather than the “effects” the abuse had on them, it can be very empowering.

And when supportive family or friends view the victim’s story through the lens of resistance, rather than the lens of “effects”, they understand her much better and are able to support her more effectively. I would guess this would apply to supportive pastors too.

Now I’d like to throw this open for you comments. Please tell us and our readers what you think of Honouring Resistance. (and by the way, honouring does have a “u” because the document comes from Canada and they spell like us Aussies!)

14 thoughts on “Honouring Resistance – a wonderful resource for understanding abuse”

  1. Just last night I watched a replay of a tv show. In the story, two different people slid a knife into the back of someone’s neck and killed the person silently. In my first marriage, my husband repeatedly told me how he could kill someone instantaneously and silently, and nobody would ever know how it happened. He had learned this in military training. He told me this story when I objected to things he wanted me to do. Needless to say, it was a terrfying thought. I could be killed, nobody would know he had done it, and my children would be left to whatever he wanted to ask of them. I became compliant and submissive over the years. One day God gave me the courage and strength to leave, but only after my children had grown up and had safe homes of their own. I could only leave when they would not be left defenseless. I have never regretted that departure.
    My husband never demonstrated that he could pull off this maneuver, but as I watched that movie last night, I though about the threat that hung over my head for 26 years as I reared my children to adulthood, waiting and hoping and praying for the day when I could safely run away from this threat. I did a lot of things during those years that were shameful and humiliating. I accepted a lot of insults and abuse that I did not deserve. I was a complete sham, putting on an act for a lot of people. I am deeply gratefull that one day God told me it was time to go, and God went with me through the whole experience, leading me to a new relationship with a good man who treats me with respect and love. It is wonderful to go to sleep at night without fear.

    1. Dear Qathy, what a story! I imagine you might have had quite a few emotions running through you as you watched that movie and reflected on your marriage. And I’m so glad you eventually got free – thanks be to God – and have found a loving relationship. Women who are married to men who have had military training can have a whole other layer and twist on their experience of abuse. I have heard of a woman who was married to a man who had received the best sniper training the world has to offer. Her experience was somewhat similar to yours. I hope you have recovered well from that trauma. Thanks for commenting on our blog and sharing your story.

  2. Respecting & Listening to Victims of Violence [Internet Archive link] “Respecting & Listening to Victims of Violence” is also great for understanding victims. However, the scariest part about that document is the true story where a guy was normal for 15 years and then turned abusive. It’s less shocking to hear that some guy was abusive from the start and more shocking to hear that anyone anywhere could turn abusive without warning. I’m sure that’s the exception rather than the norm and that most good people stay good……but the exception is scary!!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing this wonderful resource. Dignity and respect are always powerful particularly coming from an abusive situation where it doesn’t exist.

    I was pondering how I resisted, thinking I didn’t resist much but in fact, there were times that extreme compliance was a way to buy time and a way to resist physical violence. Much like a prisoner of war you learn covert resistance although at the time I didn’t clearly see the picture of what I was living in.. Self preservation sometimes dictated response. There were times that open defiance wasn’t worth the risk of harm.

    Another resistance was prayer. After a particularly violent beating by my first husband, my ear was bleeding and I was still laying on the floor when my now ex-husband walked out of the room. I didn’t get up, I just laid there and cried out “God, do you see? What do you think of this? Is this your will for me”? I’d done the submitted wife thing for almost 20 years. I heard what seemed to be an audible voice “I see, and he will never hit you again”.

    I thought this meant that my husband would reform and at last really change as a supposed Christian. 2 weeks after this incident, he got up one morning, loaded some boxes he packed while I was sleeping into the family station wagon, said, good-bye, I’m leaving and drove away. God moved on that man to get out of my life. At the time I didn’t understand this was answered prayer. Within 2 weeks I’d been provided a job in a very miraculous way.

    I resisted on my knees appealing to a good shepherd that knew my name. Unfortunately I remarried someone more abusive within the year until I learned that marriage was not the only identity a Christian woman had, but that is another story. This passage comes to mind as I think of the power of spiritual resistance:

    Psalms 16:19-20 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. God is to us a God of deliverances; to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.

      1. I’d be happy too, I think as we share our stories and are heard, we find freedom. Bringing things to the light in a safe place allows us to at last be free of them. The Bible says confess faults to one another so that you might be healed. Not that domestic violence is a fault of the victim but, hiding the story, leaves us alone with it. In truth our stories as Christian survivors includes the truth that in various ways and times a Deliverer who was waiting with deliverance in His hands showed himself mighty on our behalves. This website is one of those ways, may all who come here find deliverance from their persecutors and their supporters.

  4. Under “Emotional / Psychological Abuse,” I would add “Covertly undermining trust or loyalty to / of others, triangulation, subtly twisting truth to have a different connotation to promote abuser’s perceived ‘victim’ status, etc.”

  5. We lived near one of the primary local domestic violence shelters. We passed by it often several times a day and my abusive partner simply told me “if you were in there I would just wait nearby until you came out”.

    1. Ugh….how horrible! It shows he knew he was abusing you and was intentional in all he did to intimidate you.
      Thankfully, some shelters are in secret locations.

      Welcome to the blog.
      We like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, you might like to look at our FAQ page.

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.