Thursday, February 07, 2013
Ending the Violence
A couple of weeks ago we were told of the supreme court ruling in reference to the earlier dismissal of charges against a woman who tried to hire a hitman to kill her abusive husband. The court determined that the dismissal was an error in law, but further chose to stay charges against Nicole Ryan for the attempted murder of Michael Ryan.
This seemed right to me. Essentially the supreme court concluded that premeditated murder is wrong under even these circumstances, but took into account the abuse she had suffered.
A short time later I heard an interview with Ryan and it was chilling. The abuse by her husband was described as a "reign of terror" in court. Michael Ryan had a history of anger issues that went beyond his marriage relationship. Nicole feared for her life and despite repeated attempts to get help from police she felt that she was ignored and in danger.
I have heard about similar terror tactics on the part of abusive husbands through my wife, Ruth, who works as an outreach worker out of a shelter for women and children, right down to showing the wife where he will bury her body when he kills her. Nicole Ryan admitted that it is hard for her to understand why she stayed, as is so often the case. The psychological manipulation and control can be so thorough that the woman comes to believe that there is no way out, nowhere to hide.
Why do I mention this again? Just as a reminder that abuse doesn't go away, just because we don't hear about it all that often. When we were in Quebec to meet our new grandson, Nicholas, our son, Isaac, also a United Church minister, asked if women came to her encouraged by pastors or priests. He hoped that clergy were a help rather than a hindrance for women seeking help. She said yes, and realized on our drive home that I am one of them.The church always needs to be part of the solution rather than the problem for those at risk.
Comments or thoughts?