I am going to flog you."
me, Mr. Bingham! What for?"
matter," he replied, "I am going to whip you, so take down your dress this instant."
seized a rope, caught me roughly, and tried to tie me. I resisted with all my strength, but he was the stronger of the two,
and after a hard struggle succeeded in binding my hands and tearing my dress from my back. Then he picked up a rawhide, and
began to ply it freely over my shoulders. With steady hand and practised eye he would raise the instrument of torture, nerve
himself for a blow, and with fearful force the rawhide descended upon the quivering flesh. It cut the skin, raised great welts,
and the warm blood trickled down my back. Oh God! I can feel the torture now--the terrible, excruciating agony of those moments.”
soon as I was released, stunned with pain, bruised and bleeding, I went home and rushed into the presence of the pastor and
his wife, wildly exclaiming: "Master Robert, why did you let Mr. Bingham flog me? “What have I done that I should be
"Go away," he gruffly answered, "do not bother me."
”I would not be put off thus. "What
have I done? I will know why I have been flogged."
saw his cheeks flush with anger, but I did not move. He rose to his feet, and on my refusing to go without an explanation,
seized a chair, struck me, and felled me to the floor. I rose, bewildered, almost dead with pain, crept to my room, dressed
my bruised arms and back as best I could, and then lay down, but not to sleep. No, I could not sleep, for I was suffering
mental as well as bodily torture. My spirit rebelled against the unjustness that had been inflicted upon me, and though I
tried to smother my anger and to forgive those who had been so cruel to me, it was impossible. It seems that Mr. Bingham had
pledged himself to Mrs. Burwell to subdue what he called my "stubborn pride."
WHY? Lizzie was beaten and cruelly
mistreated, and all she wanted to know is “Why?” When Mr. Bingham informed her that he was going to “flog”
her, Lizzie wanted to know, “What for?” Mr. Bingham’s response, “No matter.” Adding insult to
injury, Lizzie was treated like a child, "I am going to whip you, so take down your dress this instant." Countless abused women lay upon their beds at
night, asking the same questions, “Why?” “What for?” They try to understand the rationale behind the
cruelty; they cannot – there is no reasonable explanation for the abuse. And yet, night after night, they lay down to
sleep, trying to make sense of the senseless.
It is well documented that African-American women suffer higher incidences of
domestic violence and abuse. Much of the documentation has alluded to the Black race being disenfranchised, and not counted
as a race worthy to share in the so-called American dream. Poverty, drugs, unemployment, teen pregnancy, and many other social
ills plague African-American communities, and I personally don’t see things getting any better. I was watching a documentary on PBS (Public Broadcasting Station)
one night – The Making Of Hip Hop – and I was enlightened. One of the issues that stood out for me was the fact
that African-American males feel the need to be “hard.” From the sandbox to adulthood, males are taught that showing
emotions is a no-no.
They are taught that being “hard” signals to other males that they are not to be messed with. In the
presence of others males, especially strangers, they wear a mask of masculinity on their faces, even when they are afraid
on the inside. This tough, macho stance becomes a way of life, and it is protected, especially in the “hood.”
If you ever watched the movie Boyz In The Hood, you will know what I am speaking of. You probably see these stone faces within
your own families and your community. When
I was growing up in the “hood,” there was a saying that signified a wrong look that was taken personal, “He
grit on me.” Today, and in the past, African-American males kill one another if they don’t like the way another
male “grit” on him. This type of stare is considered intimidating, a scare tactic, and an invitation to violence.
It doesn’t take much to start a war over a look
Being a woman, I cannot fully
understand the need to be one way at home, and another way when you are in public. Oh sure, you have to be on guard and aware
of your surroundings, but I am speaking of something different here. Many males put on a different persona when going out
among other males, like they have something to prove. To be labeled as a “wuss” – sissy, coward, or soft
is definitely something to be avoided – even unto death. Many females will smile and say “hello” to other
women, but this is not so with most males. The males will exchange that look, which says, “I am a man!”
CAN’T TURN IT OFF One of the unfortunate consequences of the “hard” persona is the inability to turn
it off and on at will. In many cases, some males try hard to revert back to the “nice guy” when they reach home,
or are around loved ones and good friends. On the other hand, there are the “hard” guys that live and breathe
hardness – wearing it like a badge of honor. In many cases, when they are around guys that beat their wives and girlfriends, they are teased and accused of being
a “wuss” if they don’t join the bashing of females. One guy will brag about how he slapped his girlfriend
silly for talking back to him, and another will brag on how he changed his mates name to the “B” word. The unspoken
code among males of this mindset is that no one is exempt from corporal punishment, not even their own children.
Now, this is not to say that all African-American males think and act this way. That would stereotype the good men,
and without just cause. However, too many of our males have been programmed with a jihad mindset – they strive in the
way of Cain. Many violent and abusive males feel that this is the only way to gain respect – kill, abuse, beat down
their women and anyone that challenges their so-called manhood. Males that belong to a gang are locked into this way of life,
and it is only by the Grace of God that they find a way out.
African-American’s are no strangers to cruel violence. Our ancestors were enslaved, beaten, tortured and murdered
in many cases – just because. Our women were raped by White oppressors - innocent children torn from their mothers nursing
breast – and sold to the highest bidder. American slavery has been abolished, and yet, African-American males carry
on the tradition of injustice and maltreatment of their women. Why?
You would think that we as African-American’s would band against the oppressors, and not oppress one another.
Isn’t this what Malcolm X, Martin L. King, and other great leaders died for – to stand as one? Even greater than
our earthly heroes, our Lord Jesus shed His blood so that we could live – abundantly in this life, and forever with
Him in the next life. When we as
a people mistreat, abuse, and practice violence against one another, we are no better than former slave masters. In fact,
we are practicing the very same atrocities that kept our people bound, and they taught us to hate one another. The lighter
Blacks were favored in some cases, and the darker Blacks were treated more cruelly in others. We continue to carry the banner
of prejudice against our own race. White history was penned with omissions, and full of lies – we believed them all.
THE SOLUTION The
blood of Jesus Christ is the answer. Developing a relationship with the Master is the only way that violence and abuse will
cease. Renewing the violent and hostile mind, and regeneration of the soul is the only way. I sincerely believe that many
violent and abusive souls can change – abusers must first acknowledge that they are out of the Will of God, and seek
Before the violent can accept their lost condition, they must hear the Word, and be “doers” of the Word
– not “hearers” only, (James 1:23-NASB). Unregenerate hearts seek its own, and not the good of others. Violent
and abusive souls need a serious heart change. Without spiritual transformation, there is no change – the mind must
be renewed. And the promise is: “Moreover,
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give
you a heart of flesh,” (Ezekiel 36:26-NASB). It is vital to stop mimicking the ways of the world:
do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of
God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect,” (Romans 12:2-NASB).
abusers apologize, but they repeat the negative behaviors. John Wayne, Tarzan, and Rambo mentalities can only be eliminated
by a total transformation of the soul. If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem, and domestic
violence is a huge social problem. Saying “I am sorry,” and not changing your behavior is not true repentance.
True repentance brings out sincere remorse from the heart. Only then will change come.