Harpo beat on Sophia, and Sophia beat on Harpo. They took turns pounding
on one another, trying to get what they desired, one from the other. Harpo wanted a beat down submissive wife, and
Sophia wanted a "man that knows how to treat a lady."
In the midst of the violence, they made babies that would witness the turmoil,
and learn the cruel ways of their parents. When Harpo and Sophia weren't fighting, they were in love; they made love. Eventually,
Harpo became frustrated with Sophia's perceived defiance; he complained to his stepmother, Ms. Celie. Now Harpo didn't come
right out and ask Ms. Celie if he should hit his wife to "make her mind." But Ms. Celie's response to his complaint that,
"She won't listen,” was just what he wanted to hear - "Beat her." And he did, over and over again.
Ms. Celie's advice to Harpo was that of pure ignorance. At the time,
she may have thought that life was supposed to be this way. In order to keep a woman in line, "Beat her." It took
many years of her own abuse, and the loss of her family through separation to realize that this was not how her life, or any
woman's life was meant to be. Ms. Celie was forced to marry a man that she didn't love at the age of fourteen. Sadly,
he didn't love her as well, for he really wanted to marry her younger sister Nettie.
Her husband's disappointment led to him beating, sexually, verbally and physically
abusing Ms. Celie for many years. As if that weren't enough, Albert disrespected his wife by allowing his mistress to live
in their home. Through it all, Ms. Celie developed and maintained a deep faith in God. As she narrated the story of her life,
she began each episode with, "Dear God."
Many women in our churches today are calling out to God for an end to their
abuse. Perhaps you are one of them. You sit faithfully, anxiously waiting every Sunday for the Minister, song leaders, Deacons,
ANYBODY - to speak out against domestic violence. But it never happens.
One day, your Minister makes the statement that, "A two-hundred pound man
beating on a 100-pound woman is shameful and should not be!" Your trembling hands grip the edge of the cushioned pew, and
you silently think, "Thank God!" You hold your breath with anticipation, praying that today is your day for deliverance. You
are thanking God in your heart that someone finally has the courage to speak out against Christian husbands who beat their
wives, especially yours.
Your heart is pounding wildly within your small frame. Beads of perspiration
cover your forehead as you wait to hear the final verdict, "DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A SIN, AND IT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED
IN THIS CHURCH!" The words go unspoken. The minister is angry, but just for a moment. He changes the
subject. You suspect that he wants badly to say more about domestic violence, but you conclude that he doesn't know how.
Suddenly, you feel sick inside, let down. You avoid eye contact
with the perpetrator sitting next to you with his arm around your shoulder. He is sitting there as if all is well with his
soul, your abuser, your tormentor; your Christian husband. During church services, he is perceived as
a devout Christian, a man who loves God and his family. But you and your children know the real truth.
He is your Harpo, trying to beat you into submission whenever he thinks
that you are out of line. After church service, you walk to your car praying, "Dear God, let me die before I reach
home." Your abuser is showing signs of anger as he squeezes your arm and asks you quietly, "Did you tell anyone?" His
expression and tone suspects betrayal, even when you sadly reply, "No, I didn't say a word."
Domestic violence in and out of the church should not be tolerated.
As you read and understand more about domestic violence, you will begin to see it for the evil that it is. You will also realize
that the abuse you suffer is not your fault. Being battered is not God's will for your life. In fact, those who practice violence
in the home know exactly what they are doing. Most of all, you will know that violence is a choice, and it is solely
about power and control.
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