Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Revenge Affair: Characteristics of the Adulterer
by Dr. Robert Huizenga, The Infidelity Coach

"I Want to Get Back at Him/Her" is one of 6 kinds of affairs.

This is the "revenge affair." It occurs in a marriage in which one feels slighted in some manner and seeks revenge by engaging in an affair.

It is less a movement toward the other person and more a movement away from one's spouse. The offending spouse usually lacks the skills of personal confrontation or is frightened by the prospect of someone "getting upset."

When evaluating this kind of affair, make a distinction between revenge and rage. Revenge is not rage. Rage comes from a different source, as outlined in one of the other kinds of affairs.

Here are some characteristics of the person who uses infidelity as revenge:

1. Usually is rather unpredictable and erratic in his behavior.

2. Has a hard time making decisions.

3. Is often impatient and irritable when things don’t go her way.

4. Some of the resentment seems to “seep out” along the edges, maybe when you least expect it.
5. Engages in teasing.

6. Can be stubborn and unyielding.

7. May often take oppositional view and pride himself on being contrary or taking an unpopular stance.

8. Can have moments of impulsive behavior and be labeled high-strung or tightly wired.

9. Has an underlying worldview that is pessimistic. Glass is half empty.

10. Has a tendency to whine or complain. ("poor me")

11. May have moments of sullenness and dejection.

12. Women may respond very intensely during their menstrual cycle. Men may also appear very moody at certain times of the month.

13. Manipulates others with unpredictability and demandingness.

14. Family of origin often marked by factions and sibling rivalry.

15. Has difficulty with intimacy since her behavior patterns push people away.
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Friday, November 25, 2005

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Most often the abuser is a member of her own family. Increasingly, gender-based violence is recognized as a major public health concern and a violation of human rights.
There are two specific days that have been dedicated to stopping violence against women. One is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov 25 which is an initiative of the UN. Women's activists have marked the Day as a day against violence since 1981. The date came from the brutal 1961 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Domincan ruler Rafael Trujillo.

There are many issues and instances at which violence against women occurs. Below are several examples. Some of the issues are:

Sexual Violence: According to the World Health Organization, between 12 percent and 25 percent of women around the world have experienced sexual violence at some time in their lives. In the United States, data compiled by the National Victim Center in 1995 indicate that over 700,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted annually. The laws of many countries around the world, such as India, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, have explicit exemptions for marital rape. Additionally, laws in countries such as Uruguay and Ethiopia allow rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims. Further, armed conflict situations and civil wars in approximately 100 countries around the world have seen the increasing use of rape as a weapon of warfare. Women civilians and refugees, specifically targeted by armed forces, are subject to mass rape, forced pregnancy, and sexual slavery.

Domestic Violence - According to the World Health Organization, results of large-scale studies conducted in various developing and industrialized countries indicate that between 16 and 52 percent of women reported having been assaulted by an intimate partner. In the United States, 28 percent of women reported at least one episode of physical violence from their partner. In Nicaragua, 52 percent of women aged 15 - 49 in the city of Leon reported having been physically abused by a partner at least once. Many cultures condone or legally sanction domestic violence. In Northern Nigeria, for example, Section 55 of the Penal Code allows a husband to discipline his wife so long as the action does not amount to the "infliction of grievous hurt."

Trafficking in Women and Girls: According to the United Nations Population Fund, an estimated 4 million women and girls around the world are bought and sold either into marriage, prostitution or slavery. Trafficking is an international multi-billion dollar industry. Traffickers operating across international borders procure their victims in many ways. Some women and girls are abducted; some are deceived by offers of legitimate work in another country; some are sold by their own poverty-stricken parents or are themselves driven by poverty into the lure of traffickers who profit from their desperation. These women and girls suffer unspeakable human rights violations as commodities of the trade in human beings.

Honor Killings: The United Nations Populations Fund estimates that as many as 5,000 women and girls are murdered by family members each year in so-called "honor killings" around the world. According to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions, "honor killings" have been reported in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda and the United Kingdom. These crimes are socially sanctioned in many countries (and in some countries legally sanctioned as well) and the killers are treated with lenience because defense of the "family honor" is considered a mitigating or exculpating factor.

These excerpts are taken
There is more detailed information available at

Deuteronomy 22:22-29
22:22 If a man is found lying with a married woman, both the woman and the man lying with her shall be put to death. You shall thus rid Israel of evil.

22:23 [This is the law] where a virgin girl is betrothed to one man, and another man comes across her in the city and has intercourse with her.

22:24 Both of them shall be brought to the gates of that city, and they shall be put to death by stoning. [The penalty shall be imposed on] the girl because she did not cry out [even though she was] in the city, and on the man, because he violated his neighbor's wife. You shall thus rid yourselves of evil.

22:25 However, if the man encountered the betrothed girl in the field and raped her, then only the rapist shall be put to death.

22:26 You must not impose any penalty whatsoever upon the girl, since she has not committed a sin worthy of death. This is no different from the case where a man rises up against his neighbor and murders him.

22:27 After all, [the man] attacked her in the field, and even if the betrothed girl had screamed out, there would have been no one to come to her aid.

22:28 If a man encounters a virgin girl who is not betrothed and is caught raping her,

22:29 then the rapist must give the girl's father 50 [shekels] of silver. He must then take the girl he violated as his wife, and he may not send her away as long as he lives.

Some questions related to the text:

The laws seem to suggest that if a woman does not cry for help then she consented. What does this mean?

Why is there a lesser punishment for raping a virgin?

What are the differences between the different cases mentioned?

What are the implications of having to marry the man who raped you?


"Do Jewish Men Really Do That?": Domestic Violence in the Jewish Community"
by Tammy Goldberg

Several prevalent myths lead Jews to doubt that domestic violence is a Jewish problem. One such myth is that Jewish families are loving, nurturing and harmonious. "Shalom bayit," domestic tranquility, is a central ideal in Judaism, but unfortunately it is not the reality in many homes. Another myth is that domestic violence is limited to families that are less educated, of low socioeconomic status, non-observant, intermarried, immigrant--the list goes on. In fact, individuals with all levels of social power, status and connection can choose to exert control over those close to them. With enough forcefulness, an abuser can victimize anyone, regardless of the person's resources …

How to Take Action Against Domestic Violence:

Find out if there is a Jewish domestic violence program in your community. If so, consider volunteering. If not, speak out about the importance of developing one.

Bring educational programs about domestic violence to your synagogue, group, organization, AND school. There are even groups that do workshops for teenagers to prevent dating violence.

Talk to your rabbi about his/her view on this issue. Ask what he/she does when someone talks about feeling uncomfortable or afraid in her home. Encourage your rabbi to speak out about the subject in sermons.

Get involved with domestic violence programs targeted to the general community. Help staff and volunteers understand some of the ways domestic violence can differentially affect Jews.

Join the mailing list of a legislative group that deals with domestic violence. When there is a request for action, respond.

Contact your legislators (or their staff) to ask what they are doing to address domestic violence. Let them know how you feel about their efforts.


Learn about the issue of domestic abuse. Look out for media addressing the issue, including articles, books and television programs.

Be open to talking to those who may be experiencing abuse, and practice communicating in a supportive, non-judgmental way.

Learn about available services so you can share information with those who may need it.

Teach your children that there is no excuse for violence. Show them the example of adults who have mutually respectful, nonviolent relationships.

These extracts were taken from a more comprehensive article on

Some general questions to think about:

What are the stereotypes of Jewish women and men concerning sex and sexuality?

How might these stereotypes, and stereotypes of the Jewish family and community, affect a woman's experience with violence against her?

Is it more difficult for Jewish women to discuss rape or incest due to these stereotypes?

How does the Jewish community deal with these problems?

How might stereotypes affect battered women or encourage them to stay in a relationship?

What are other concerns for religious women?

Do you feel the possibility of rape or other kinds of violence in your daily life?

Where do you confront this fear? Work, home, street?

Are you able to deal with this fear? How?
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Sunday, November 20, 2005

How to Confess Your Sex Addiction
by Rob Jackson, MS, LPC, NCC

For most of us, confessing a personal issue is difficult. We have concerns for how others will respond – especially if our confessions pertain to some type of sexual sin committed against our spouses/partners.

Perhaps the term “sex addict” doesn’t seem to apply to you or maybe the term is just simply too difficult to handle for the moment. Whichever the case may be, your confession of sexual sin is an important first step. After your disclosure, the severity of your sexual sin will need to be professionally evaluated and treated.

As you consider how to break the news of your sexual sin to your spouse, here are some important considerations:

Examine your motivation. A healthy motivation is that you want a closer relationship with your higher power, and that even if you were not married, you would continue to pursue sexual health and greater personal integrity. An unhealthy motivation is that you are angry at your spouse and use your sin with the intention of hurting him/her.

Resolve to tell the truth. The nature of sexual sin involves deception of self and others. Telling the truth from this point forward is critical. Since trust is the most damaged aspect of your relationship, you will need to work extremely hard to gain it back. Even small lies at this point can derail any future healing and reconciliation.

Your confession may include disclosing childhood sexual abuse that may have created a vulnerability to acting out sexually. Understandably, your disclosure is not a time to shift blame, but statistically most sex addicts have sexual abuse in their pasts.

Look for tendencies in yourself towards secrecy, entitlement, and retaliation. These negative traits often coexist with sex addiction, and need to be owned and dealt with in making amends and professional counseling. Recognizing how you have done this in the past will help you to confess with greater openness and honesty.

Commit yourself to answering your partner's/ spouse’s questions honestly. He or she will most likely need to know more once your initial disclosure has been offered. Your willingness to answer questions is one type of amends where your respect for his or her injuries is apparent.

Gather your facts by category. Greater compassion will guide you so that your disclosure is not too specific. Most spouses don’t want the salacious details, but they actually need the specific categories of your involvement, e.g. magazines, videos, cybersex, internet porn, strip clubs, prostitutes, affairs, etc. If an affair has occurred with a friend or relative of your partner, be sure to include this important fact.

Identify the resources that you and your spouse will need for healing and reconciliation. Prepare beforehand some specific solutions that you can explain at the end of your confession. Resources may include books, tapes, support groups, and an appointment with a professional therapist. It is extremely important that you have already begun taking steps to address and correct the problem before telling your spouse.

Willfully acknowledge the gravity of your adultery and your partner's/ spouse’s Biblical right to seek separation or divorce. Even virtual adultery committed online has the power to alter your spouse’s life. Meditate on the words of Christ where He equates lust with adultery, and confess accordingly.

Throughout your confession, stop and give your spouse time to take in your confession. Accept his or her emotions as a largely involuntary reaction.

Freely initiate your specific apology. For example, “I feel badly for having hurt you with my sexual sin. I realize I can never fully know how badly I’ve hurt you by _______. I hope you can forgive me as I seek to rebuild your trust in time.”

Admit that it is your responsibility to rebuild the trust, and that it will take considerable time.

Avoid minimizing the nature of your sin. For example, don’t say, “Well it could be worse, at least I didn’t do ________.” It is essential to not shift blame at this point by hinting that your spouse could have been more amorous, attentive, etc. You will likely need to resolve numerous communication issues between you in time, but now is the time for humility and repentance.

Don’t compare yourself to others. One of the more difficult things for partners to hear is the distorted belief that “all men do it”.

Be sure to avoid telling your partner how he or she is suppose to feel or what he or she is supposed to do with the information.

It may take considerable restraint, but encourage your partner to talk to whomever he or she needs to, as healing gets underway. Sadly, your right to privacy was forfeited with sexual sin. Speak openly, however, to your desire that he or she will be discreet and discerning.

Avoid over-spiritualizing things by declaring that the sin is “in the past,” or that it’s time for he or she to “forgive and forget.” It will be important to remember that the disclosure will most likely take your partner by surprise, and greater love will allow the injured party considerable leeway in the early days of recovery.

Encourage your spouse by disclosing your willingness to participant in an ongoing dialogue.

Share with your partner that you will intentionally avoid anything that would cause additional pain or reason for mistrust. At this point, you might describe the triggers or temptations you face and outline your specific plans to avoid them. You might also ask for your partner’s help to achieve this plan.

Don’t expect your partner to ask the specific question that requires you to tell “the rest of the story”. Your confession needs to be comprehensive in one setting. Piecemealed confessions will often reinjure your partner.

Above all, don’t blame your partner or others involved for your sexual sins. He or she will need assurances that your choices to act out were not prompted by personal deficiencies.

Closing Considerations
Unfortunately, most men and women snared by sexual sin don’t volunteer their confessions. More often their partners, children, friends or colleagues find evidence of their double lives and confront them because they care. Because confrontation occurs instead of confession, tensions are often high and relationships suffer deeper injuries.

Voluntary confessions are a strong indicator for a better prognosis where the addict and family can be cautiously optimistic for their future recovery. Ongoing secrets are a strong indicator that the addiction to sexual sin will be stubborn and treatment resistant. In these cases, marriages and efforts to parent cooperatively will be compromised until the addict accepts help.

If you are having trouble preparing yourself for the confession, confide in a mature understanding friend, preferably a mature person who can help bear your burden and pray for and with you. It may be helpful to walk through these steps with a close friend before talking to your spouse. This friend should be someone who will stick with you through the entire process of healing.

Rob Jackson is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice who specializes in intimacy disorders, including sex addiction and codependency. He also speaks nationally on a variety of topics, including intimacy with God and family.
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