Domestic Abuse: How Should We Respond?

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With news this week of a particular movie mogul’s abusive behavior, I found myself looking back.

Specifically, to an article in the Army News Service by David Vergun from April 18th.

Vergun writes about Troy Vincent, remembered by NFL fans as a great cornerback who played for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins from 1992 to 2006. Vincent also wants to be remembered as someone who speaks out against domestic violence, the majority of which is directed against women. 

Vergun writes,

"Vincent recounted how, as a child, he witnessed the horrors of extreme domestic abuse by his mother’s boyfriend, who regularly beat her. That abuse resulted in numerous hospital visits, he said, and one attack proved so violent that every bone in her face was fractured.

When he tried to enlist help from neighbors during the beatings, people were afraid to open their doors to him because they didn’t want to get involved, he said."

Today, in his role as executive vice president of NFL operation, Vince also holds himself accountable for checking up on players' conduct off the field. The NFL has made hotlines available for victims of domestic abuse and instructed each team to form Crisis Response Teams for their players, employees, spouses and significant others who may be in an abusive relationship.

In addition to speaking against domestic and sexual violence in forums across the country and participating in congressional hearings, Vincent gives a significant amount of his time to serve in local shelters. The majority of shelter staff and volunteers are women, Vince says, and he encourages other men to step up and come alongside male victims of abuse. 

“Men need to stand up and be leaders or the problem is not going to change,” Vince says.

In one NFL domestic violence training session, participants role-played a domestic violence scenario. Afterward, when asked what the players would have done had they been a bystander, to a man, they admitted they wouldn't have gotten involved. 

Vincent maintains that by not getting involved, a bystander becomes personally at fault.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Domestic Violence Hotline offers these sobering statistics:

• Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten.
• One in every three women will be abused during their lifetime.
• The leading cause of injury to women is domestic violence. That's more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
• Some 10 Million children witness domestic violence each year.
• Men are twice as likely to abuse their wives if they witnessed abuse growing up.

Reporting the incident to authorities is a simple, but effective way to make an impact. Save these numbers in your phone!
24-Hour Domestic Violence Helpline: 216-391-HELP(4357)
Family & Child Advocacy Helpline at (216) 391-4357

Let’s be those who speak up and who model great respect for others. As we do so, we’re reflecting the heart of Jesus (Philippians 2:1-5).

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