A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Thursday Thought — On Violence, Resistance, and Power in Language by Dr. Allan Wade

At a conference in Sweden, Dr. Allan Wade discusses social responses. In particular in this short video clip he touches on how people who have been abused may be further traumatized by the negative social responses they receive from ‘helping’ professionals, authority figures, family, friends and neighbours.  Very often, the social responses an abused person receives from others just mis-label, blame and pathologise the abused person. Allan discusses how the mutualising language used to talk about assault can impact the victim in negative ways.


  1. keeningforthedawn

    Excellent video. There is power in calling a spade a spade.

  2. Seeing Clearly

    Difficult to watch and listen, but also a relief to hear truth being spoken.

  3. I just clipped this from the YouTube Webinar: Response based Practice with Aboriginal Children & Youth

  4. I clipped this from the same webinar I clipped the above graphic from.

  5. Gothard Survivor

    Is there a link for the full speech? This guy makes sense!

    • I have not found a link to the full speech. It may be that the full presentation could only be obtained if one paid for it (?).

      But at the end of the above video, YouTube suggests some other videos, which are all pretty good, though they may be more aimed at professionals.

    • Here is a link to some other videos where Allan Wade and others talk about Response Based Practice. There are video clips (trailers) to watch for free, and purchase details for the full videos. Training DVDs

  6. For Too Long

    Watching this just makes me astounded at church leadership that doesn’t get it why a woman shuts down after her first attempt at disclosure is not believed. The next thing they do is hound her and tell her she must attend the meetings they set up (with her husband, of course); then she refuses (her resistance to the new abuse of power); then she’s warned that she’s skating on thin ice; and, finally, the last blow is that she’s ex-communicated. …And she’s made to look like the one with the problem.

    (from Language and Violence: Analysis of Four Discursive Operations [Internet Archive link] Linda Coates & Allan Wade)

    Dignity is Central to Social Life
    Social interaction is organized largely around the preserving of dignity. Even inadvertent slights can be met with intense responses. All forms of violence are affronts to dignity, but not all affronts to dignity involve physical violence.

    Fitting Words to Deeds
    There are no impartial accounts. Professionals and personal accounts of violence influence the perception and treatment of victims and offenders. Where there is violence, the question of “which words are fitted to which deeds” is crucial.

    Social Conduct is Responsive
    Individuals respond to social context, the immediate situation, and micro-interactional events and orient to one another as social agents with the capacity to choose.

    Violent Acts are Social and Unilateral
    Violent acts are social in that they occur in specific interactions and involve at least two people, and unilateral in that they entail actions by one person against the will and well-being of another.

    Violence is Deliberate
    Perpetrators of violence anticipate resistance from victims and take deliberate steps to conceal and suppress it. Even so-called “explosive” or “out of control” acts of violence involve choice and controlled, deliberate action.

    Resistance is Ever-Present
    Individuals respond to and resist violence and other forms of oppression. However, open defiance is the least common form of resistance. In extreme circumstances, resistance may be realized solely in the privacy of the mind / spirit.

  8. For Too Long

    Love these definitions of resistance! Really, those little acts, whether internal or external, seem in retrospect now to have been what kept me sane all those years.

  9. Finding Answers

    Going limp. (Using Dr. Wade’s words.)

    (Potential trigger warning) Remembering similarly worded slurs my siblings aimed at me, to describe my effects on the male population.


    Language used to denigrate. Language used to diminish.

    Language used to blame-shift.

    There is power in language.

    • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

      If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless (James 1:26).

      The Bible speaks much about the tongue. Proverbs, Jesus’ teachings and the apostles all speak about the taming of the tongue that only God can truly tame.

      I’ve found more damage was done by wrongful use of words than anything else I ever experienced. They have the power to build up or power to cut down, as scriptures tells us. Many go around like that unbridled horse (James 3:1-12) and feel entitled to ‘mouth off’. So much damage done in the home, our schools and work places, and of course in secret.

      “Stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”????
      I remember an old Christian singer once saying whoever coughed [coined?] that phrase must have been blind.
      For words often in abuse, and certainly in my experience, does the biggest bulk of the damage. Destroying soul and spirit and your voice to stand up and be heard.
      It therefore takes all within you to ever speak up when your self-esteem and spirit is so low and weak.

      I trust and pray His strength will be poured into you all when you are weak.

      Only God can truly tame the tongue as His spirit works within us renewing us day by day.

      An old pastor of mine often used to say “put [your?] brain gear before opening your mouth!”

      I hope words of comfort, love and true compassion continue to abound between us all here as we seek to recover and heal.

      Daily we encounter terrible phrases or bombardment of words that cut us to pieces. It is not easy. Some coming from the most unlikeliest of sources and others who definitely should know better.

      I thought I was gaining ground and moving on well, but lately a torrent of verbal abuse has just floored me. Once again I am trying to pick myself up, dust down and move on. It’s not easy but we all will get there.

      One thing I do know for certain. Jesus’ words are sweet and kind to our souls, when we put our whole trust in Him!
      He understands and I can hear Him say to all our critics “let him who has no sin – go on – pick up the first stone!”

      Keep looking to Jesus. Listen to His words. He is our example. I can only do this or I crumble!!

      Jesus said (Matt 12:36-37):

      But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

      May God truly pour in strength for your weakness and the oil of healing to your souls! I speak to myself I desperately need it too. 🙂

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