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Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence (Anglais) Broché – 1 mai 2014

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Book by Holcomb Lindsey A Holcomb Justin S

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Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I thought that I understood everything that I needed to about my own experience, but it was so helpful to have it on paper, and have a godly pastor confirm what I felt was right. I recommended this book to everyone who I knew could benefit from it - friends, pastors, family...
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x949754ec) étoiles sur 5 24 commentaires
19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94b0ae10) étoiles sur 5 What hope can we offer victims of domestic violence? 26 mai 2014
Par Aaron Armstrong - Publié sur
Format: Broché
As we sat in the school auditorium where our church meets, I could feel my wife seething beside me. Our pastor had come to a crucial text in one of the gospels—Jesus’ teaching on divorce. As we listened to our pastor strongly (and faithfully) teach on what the Bible says about marriage and divorce, Emily became increasingly agitated. Not because of anything that was said, but what hadn’t been: what about women who are being abused?

To many, the Bible’s teaching on divorce seems too simplistic to deal with these issues. Bad counsel based on incomplete teaching leaves many women (and men) feeling trapped, with nowhere to turn when their spouses begin to spiritually, psychologically, physically or sexually abuse them. When the abuse somehow becomes their fault in the counselling session, or they’re too ashamed to even say anything at all—or don’t even know if it “counts.”

Emily’s anger was birthed from experiences of these feelings in both her childhood and adolescent years, and her empathy for several friends who have experienced abuse in their marriages. If we’re to offer any sort of hope and encouragement to those suffering from domestic violence, we need to know what the Bible has to say to them.

This is why books like Is It My Fault? are so necessary. From its opening pages, Justin and Lindsey Holcomb offer a compassionate and biblical look at the problem of domestic violence, beginning with five words victims need to hear: It is never your fault.

"No matter what kind of abuse you have experienced, there is nothing you can do, nothing you can say, nothing you think that makes you deserving of it. There is no mistake you could have made and no sin you could have committed to make you deserving of violence.

"You did not deserve this. And it is never your fault.

"You did not ask for this. You should not be silenced. You are not worthless. You do not have to pretend like nothing happened. You are not damaged goods, forgotten or ignored by God, or 'getting what you deserve.'” (21)

These truths should be obvious, but for someone in an abusive relationship, they’re anything but. And truthfully, I’m not sure how obvious they are to some of us who aren’t, either. For example, we tend to look at marital problems and try to figure out how divide responsibility for those problems equally between spouses. And while this is certainly true in the average problems that come with marriage and relationships, we need to be careful to not apply this too broadly. Sometimes, it really is the problem just one person—and in the case of domestic violence, in whatever form it takes, it is always the abuser’s fault.

Although a bit of a loose example, consider the recent shootings in Santa Barbara, California, when 22-year-old Elliott Rodger stabbed three people to death, shot three more, and left 13 more injured, before killing himself. Why did he do it? Because “girls have never been attracted to me.” What surprised me with this wasn’t Rodger’s placing the blame for his yet-to-be-committed crimes on women, but because some online commenters seemed to agree, saying that if he wasn’t a virgin, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.

Yeah. Someone actually said that.

Keeping this in mind is especially important when you consider how tricky it can be to develop a concrete definition of domestic violence. You need a broad enough definition that captures the full spectrum of abuse, yet doesn’t leave every reader paranoid that they’re either being abused or an abuser themselves. How is it defined in Is It My Fault?

"Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling, or abusive behavior that is used by one individual to gain or maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, exploit, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound an intimate partner." (57)

Despite being a little clinical, and maybe a bit lawyer-y, this definition is very strong. I believe the key word here is “pattern.” An abuser isn’t necessarily someone who says something stupid and hurtful once (again, if that were the case, we would all be abusers). An abuser is someone who makes an intentional behavior of it. This doesn’t mean that sinful and hurtful words don’t need to be dealt with (they do!); it just means we ought not label the one-time offender—depending on the nature of their offense—as being guilty of domestic violence. (There’s no such thing as being just a little stabby.)

The first several chapters of the book offer extremely necessary definitions and categories that readers may lack—beyond a definition of domestic violence, they may not know what the cycle of abuse looks like, or what types of personas exist among abusers, all of which the Holcombs provide. But the strength of the book really comes through when the authors turn to the Scriptures to show readers what God says about this issue. The picture shown here is of a God who “hates abuse, viewing it as sinful and unacceptable” (107), and “delights in rescuing the oppressed (2 Sam. 22:49)” (108).

This isn’t always easy for us to believe, though. After all, in our day-to-day circumstances—especially those in abusive situations—struggle to see God at work. They cry out asking for the Lord to deliver them, just as David did many times in the psalms. But it’s the tension we all face. Suffering and pain are real, but deliverance is real, too, even if it doesn’t come when or how we might wish it did. Despite how it may seem at times, “God is not standing idly by to watch evil run its course he will not allow evil to have the final word. His response to evil and violence is redemption, renewal, and recreation” (113).

What I appreciate throughout the authors’ reflections on several psalms is how they hold this tension. They don’t offer a pat “God’s in control,” although that would be easy to do. They dig into the reality of the pain, the difficulty of the circumstances. But they don’t leave us there. Instead, they redirect despair to hope, showing how we can be confident that God’s deliverance will come.

This, arguably, may be the most important practical takeaway for readers (aside from the very helpful action plan in the appendices). When the darkness won’t seem to lift, we need the hope that God is not ignoring our circumstances. That God is at work, even when we can’t see it. That His promises are still true—and because His promises are true, hope cannot be extinguished.

Is It My Fault? will provoke some strong feelings in its readers—anger that abuse happens at all, perhaps temptations toward seeking vengeance, and a longing for Jesus’ return and the coming of the new creation. What I hope it does is remind us all that none of us can stand by when abuse occurs in our homes or in our churches. In those situations, our goal should always be to bring hope into the darkness of abuse of all kinds. To humbly, earnestly and uncompromisingly call perpetrators to repentance, and allow them to experience the consequences of their actions. To offer compassion to victims and allow them to begin to experience some form of healing, while holding out the promise of the final restoration Jesus will bring when He comes to wipe every tear from every eye. This is what victims of abuse need, and by God’s grace, it’s what we can offer, if we’re willing.
17 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94a7b7c8) étoiles sur 5 Good intentions, but this book fell too far short of the mark. 15 août 2015
Par Barbara Roberts - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
How people use language is of vital importance in the field of abuse and violence. I'm sorry to say that despite their good intentions, the Holcomb's seem to not be aware of how write about domestic abuse in a way which does not dishonour, belittle or blame victims.

There are some good aspects of this book. The authors do not see domestic abuse as a 'relationship problem' (unlike most Chrsitians who write on this topic!) Nor do they waste time on pushing the forgiveness barrow; they never push couple counseling or 'reconciliation' or talk mushily about 'redeeming' such and such. They get the gender stuff right — recognising that some victims are male, they nevertheless write to and for the overwhelming majority of victims who are women, and whose abusers are men. The scriptural principle of fleeing abuse & escaping from persecution is well handled. The authors put the victim's safety first. They show how Psalms 18 and 55 relate to domestic abuse. They help the reader who is unsure whether she is being abused. Why some women stay, and the resistance of abused women are addressed reasonably well. And encourage the victim to trust herself more.

But there are bad aspects of this book which in my opinion outweigh the good points.
Their teaching on the permissibility of divorce for abuse is very wishywashy; I believe it will hurt or confuse many victims of abuse. The authors use the terms 'violence' and 'physical abuse' too frequently and thus fail to adequately do away with the myth that abuse is equated to violence — and if there's no violence, it's not really abuse. Their discussion of suffering and what Jesus substitutionally bore on our behalf is a doctrinally muddled mess and will trigger many victims, making them feel like they are being blamed for the abuse.
Their treatment of the concept of God's grace is also doctrinally unsound. They underplay or ignore God's wrath and judgement for sin, and they reductively depict grace as the morale-boosting energy drink for mood enhancement and Christian Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
The authors lament how the church falls short, but they seem to assume that churches will respond properly when a victim discloses -- which is a wrong assumption! (look at the A Cry For Justice blog for heaps of examples of bad church responses to victims)
The authors give some good descriptions of abusers and their tactics; but they sometimes use language which obscures the responsibility of the abuser.They sometimes do a reasonable job of honoring victims; but they undo this by dishonoring victims in a variety of ways: — they patronize and subtly disparage victims, they sometimes belittle victims, they issue orders to victims; and they use sin-levelling cliches.

For an indepth review of this book, of which this review is a summary, go to cryingoutforjustice dot com and use the search bar to look up "Is It My Fault".
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94cfd318) étoiles sur 5 A much-needed resource on domestic violence 28 mai 2014
Par Persis - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Domestic violence (DV) is a difficult subject and one that is often misunderstood. Consequently, victims may not realize that what is happening to them is abuse. Also well-intentioned but uninformed counsel may re-victimize those already hurting. "Is It My Fault?" brings this topic to light for the victim and those who would help her.

To give a brief overview, this book is divided into three sections:

Part 1 - What is Domestic Violence? - This section lays the groundwork by defining DV and its extent. Contrary to what many may think, abuse is not just physical. Neither is it a relational issue but one of control. [21]

"Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling, or abusive behavior that is used by one individual to gain or maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, exploit, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound an intimate partner."[57]

Part 2 - Women, Domestic Violence, and the Bible - Does God care about women? Does He demand that a woman remain in an abusive situation and suffer for His sake? The authors go back to the Scriptures to find the answers to these questions and others. They expose how the Bible can be misused and also clearly show that God is a deliverer who desires healing and wholeness for the oppressed.

Part 3 - Reflections from the Psalms - The authors take three Psalms and walk the reader through the Psalmist's struggles and suffering. They don't respond with Christian cliches or make light of a victim's pain. The desire for justice is not minimized either. But these Psalms provide a way for the victim to pray and cry out to God in her distress.

Appendices include emergency numbers, a personalized safety plan, which is excellent, and suggestions on how churches can help women at risk. There is a list of recommended resources as well as copious end notes documenting the authors' research. (Of note, the book uses feminine pronouns when referring to the victim. However, the authors acknowledge that men are victims as well.)

Now that I've given a general summary of the book, let me bring it home.

For the victim, "Is It My Fault?" provides much needed clarity and comfort. I cannot stress how important it is to be told it is not your fault. Abusers are so skilled at blame-shifting and crazy-making that victims are brainwashed into think that it is their fault, they deserve it, even to the extent that God is punishing them. Nothing is further from the truth, and this needs to be stated loud and clear. Abuse needs to be recognized for what it is and exposed in all its ugliness. But more than this, the Holcombs point the victim to Jesus. He is the only one who can fully sympathize with her suffering. He is the only one with the power and love to deliver and heal her deepest wounds. And because of what Jesus has done, there is hope instead of shame.

For those who want to help, facing domestic violence is difficult because it collides with much of what we believe about marriage, family, gender, and divorce. As Christians, we have a strong desire to preserve marriage, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Also without a correct understanding of DV, the mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional health of the victim may take a back seat to our ideals. God forbid that she should suffer more at our hands which is why need to be informed. "Is It My Fault?" may challenge you in this regard, but we should examine our attitudes and perhaps preconceived ideas in light of the whole counsel of God.

Pastors, church and women ministry leaders, and even the average church goer, please read this book. One in four women will suffer domestic violence in some form.[59] It is highly probable that there are women in your church who were or are victims. Get informed. Care for the widow and the orphan, and may the church practice true religion undefiled. I strongly recommend "Is It My Fault?."
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94a804e0) étoiles sur 5 Review: Is It My Fault 6 juillet 2014
Par Rose F - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
Book Review: Is It My Fault, by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb


Is It My Fault that is an educational resource for battered women and Christian leaders who want to learn more about ministering to abuse victims and survivors of domestic violence. It's a short book that presents a lot of useful, accurate factual information about what domestic violence is, how abusers think, and the effects of domestic violence. There is a detailed appendix and a lot of resources for women who are considering breaking away from their abusers.

My Thoughts

The factual content of this book as it relates to domestic violence is detailed and accurate, though not comprehensive. It's a good resource to have if you don't know very much about domestic violence or if you are wondering whether or not you may be in an abusive relationship.

The book's introduction functions as a "roadmap" help the reader find the most relevant sections as quickly as possible. This is a huge help for someone who might be in danger. The appendices contain a list of resources for getting help, and a "safety plan" form that may help victims plan a successful escape.

There's also a list of recommended reading that may help elucidate some of the points this book is vague about.

Most of the information in the first third of the book can apply to any domestic violence situation, regardless of whether the abusers are male or female, and the book does point out that "domestic violence" covers a lot more than just violence toward women by their romantic partners. With that said, the book has a marked bias toward male-female partner abuse, and it assumes that the abuser will be male.

I don't have a problem with that, per se. Statistically women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, and more perpetrators are male. There need to be books that specifically address violence against women, and there need to be books that can educate church leaders about both the needs of female victims and the pervasive misappropriation of Scripture to justify partner abuse. Domestic violence is a sin, and this book makes that clear with solid, well reasoned, scripturally-based argument.

I do have a problem with a book that presents itself as a general resource on domestic violence and then makes only token references to male abuse victims and never talks about abuse perpetrated on women by other women. There is a whole other dynamic of social stigma attached to being abused by a woman, and a "general" book about domestic violence should address that issue. The book does spend some time discussing child abuse and the effects of witnessing violence, but there is no mention at all of elder abuse, and the content that deals with emotional or verbal abuse is an afterthought. There's hardly any discussion of passive aggressive abuse tactics, and there's no space given to strictly passive aggressive forms of abuse or why they're so damaging.

The Christian/biblical portion of the book is a mixed bag. The authors are quite adept at explaining cultural context and historical relevance, and there are some useful discussion about whether or not the the Bible advocates subjugation and abuse of women. Unfortunately, they gloss over any difficult passages with token comments about cultural relativity instead of actually engaging the problems or offering additional reading that might do so. The book also seems to argue that patriarchy and abuse of women is the direct result of the fall, instead of a collateral effect. I'm not entirely clear on that point, because this is another issue that the authors try to hand-wave away.


This book is a valuable factual resource, and I recommended it in that capacity, but it's incomplete. The theology doesn't entirely stand up to critical examination, and if the authors wanted to write a book about whife battery, they should have just done so, and not tried to pawn this off as some sort of general reference that clearly isn't.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94ab7f30) étoiles sur 5 So helpful for pastors 6 mai 2014
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format: Broché
As a pastor, people tend to tell me their secrets and as a relatively "new" pastor most of those secrets were not adequately covered in my one pastoral counseling class in seminary. Lindsey and Justin Holcomb have written a book that not only has given me tremendous insight into this devastating reality in our broken world, but also a book so filled with grace and hope that I can hand to someone who comes to me with their secrets and know that if they read it, they will see Jesus.
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