Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness, Addiction, and Abuse (c)2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
Thirteen children, ages 2 to 29, were found held captive in their parents’ home this week. They were starving, and some were chained to their beds.
The neighbors said they rarely saw the children outside. One woman tried to say hello to the parents and a son as she passed by, but they would not speak to her. A man commented he did not know children were in that house.
Twelve school-age sons and daughters were not allowed to attend school. Interaction with the outside world was limited, if at all. They were small, somewhat emaciated, malnourished, and you can bet, brainwashed.
One commenter on Facebook expressed her confusion saying, “I can’t figure out how the adult children could not have done something before this! They weren’t always chained up.When the father was out they could gang up on their mother and escape! Seems like a strange story!”
It is strange to anyone who can reason out those options. It is strange to outsiders who think they would never have allowed it to happen to them.
Women who are abused by their male partners or spouses average seven attempts to leave before they leave for good. The days or weeks immediately after they walk out is the most dangerous time, and women are killed. Current victims know the danger and threats. I strongly suspect that as this story unfolds, we will learn more about abuse against the mother.
Now use your imagination a little. What would you do if you were so beaten down emotionally that you believed you deserve such treatment? How would you handle finding money to feed your children if you had been a stay-at-home mom? What options would you see if your abuser threatens to kill a child if you leave?
These are only a few reasons ADULT women stay in abusive marriages. Children have even fewer choices.
(1) They believe what they have always been taught is right
(2) They have no power (or think they do not) to physically or emotionally make healthy decisions for themselves
(3) In the case of captives, the outside world is strange.
(4) They live under threat of consequences (such as obeying the abuser to protect siblings)
If an adult child has spent his or her life abused and tortured, is small due to malnourishment, has never been taught to think for himself or herself but has been commanded since day one, escape may actually have never come to mind. A 29-year-old who grew up in captivity will not know what the outside world knows.
Please pray for these rescued children. They have an arduous psychological journey ahead.