Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Broken Homes

What makes a home “broken?” Traditionally, the term “broken” has been reserved for divorced couples. We see ripped photos of the couple torn from one another. But are these the only broken homes?

Are homes where dad beats mom intact and non-broken? Are homes where the husband takes authority over his wife and demands that she subject herself to him non-broken? Are homes where dad justifies his nasty treatment of mom non-broken? Are homes where children are sexually assaulted by a member of their immediate family non-broken? Are homes where one spouse is sexually active outside the marriage non-broken? Why hasn't the church come up with a name for these types of homes? If they aren't broken, what are they?

They certainly are NOT intact. We could call them dysfunctional, but the damage done in those homes is worse than dysfunction. We could call them bruised, but that understates and minimizes the truth. What about calling these homes battered homes? Kind of like battered shrimp, right? Shelled, skinned, covered up and deep fried. Or battered fish fillet. Gutted, sliced up, covered up, and deep fried. But to call it a battered home, when one person is not being battered, doesn't seem right. A home should not be labeled according to the behavior of ONE of the members.

Troubled home. Now that's a minimizer! Kind of like being troubled by a division problem, right? But it isn't a broken home, so how can it have a division problem? How about divided home? Take your chainsaw and split it, giving the batterer the house and his victims the door—and maybe a window.

Abusive home. Ah, now we're getting close. Problem is, not everyone in that home is abusive. In fact, usually only ONE person is abusive. Although he may be training the younger generation to do the same, we can't call the whole home abusive.

Could it be we ought to be calling a home where this type of abuse is the norm a Destroyed Home? Isn't one person in the home destroying the others? The brain cells of the abused wife and children are getting destroyed, their trust is destroyed, their self-esteem is destroyed, and often their health is destroyed. In fact, the direction of the family has been destroyed, because the abusive husband is rowing the family boat in a circle around himself with his one oar.

Could it be if we called a home where one person is abusing, devaluing, and controlling another a “Destroyed Home,” we would start acknowledging the truth of what is causing Broken Homes and the high divorce rate? And when we admit the truth, is it possible we would also find solutions that heal instead of “solutions” that keep women and children imprisoned with their destroyers, forcing them to participate in the training of the next generation of wife & child destroyers?

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See www.wanetadawn.com A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

1 comment:

  1. Good suggestions. Just one thought. How about making it more active to indicate this is a process eg Destroying Homes or Destructive Homes