Molly-Catherine K. Goodson, M.A., Esq.
She sits alone . . . in a dark room, curled up with a blanket, because if the lights are on she will see her bruises.
She sits alone . . . crying, wondering if the physical pain will ever be as bad as the heartache and the emotional turmoil.
She sits alone . . . fearful of what will happen when he walks back into the room.
She sits alone . . . contemplating how she will explain these “boo boos” to her little ones.
She sits alone . . . desperately praying and begging God to change him.
She sits alone . . . listening to him apologize.
She sits alone . . . hopeful–maybe this time he really has changed.
She sits alone . . . waiting for him to come home, wondering where he is.
She sits alone . . . anxious when he comes into the room – she knows what that tone of voice means.
She sits alone . . . pleading with him . . . “please stop” . . . “I’ll do better this time.”
She sits alone . . . in pain, in heartache, with a bloody face she can’t hide anymore.
She sits alone . . . praying, “God, can you hear me? Can you see me?”
She sits alone . . . in the waiting room at the emergency room because the bleeding wouldn’t stop and she thinks something’s broken.
She sits alone . . . dreading the nurse’s questions, wondering how she will answer them.
She sits alone . . . questioning what she did to deserve this. If only she hadn’t asked him why he came home late, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.
She sits alone . . . on the exam table, as the doctor examines her injuries.
She sits alone . . . when a police officer walks in the exam room and asks her how this happened.
She sits alone . . . as she breaks down in tears and can only muster out the word “yes” when she is asked if her husband did this to her.
She sits alone . . . wondering how she’s going to answer the questions from her little ones about her boo boos and Daddy’s whereabouts. How does she tell them that Daddy is in jail?
She sits alone . . . in the courtroom as she waits for her case to be called.
She sits alone . . . on the witness stand while he stares at her from across the courtroom, with the look on his face that he wears when he beats her.
She sits alone . . . while the verdict is read . . . and she wonders, “What does ‘justice’ even mean?”
She walks alone . . . outside the courthouse, back to her car, back to her home.
She sits alone . . . concerned, frightened, anxious, and apprehensive . . . where do I go from here?
She sits alone.
She is not a stranger. She is your family. She is your friend. She is your classmate. She is your colleague. She is a part of your church family. She might even be you.
But, what would happen if she did not sit alone?
What would happen if instead of asking her, “Why do you stay?” we asked her, “How can I help you?”
What would happen if instead of hiding in her home, she was able to find refuge in ours?
What would happen if instead of praying alone, she had people who would pray with her?
What would happen if the church surrounded her and her children with love and comfort, rather than judgment and shame?
What would happen if the church held him accountable for his actions by speaking out against his abuse and speaking on her behalf?
What would happen if instead of going to the emergency room alone, there was someone she could call to take her?
What would happen if instead of sitting in the courtroom alone, she had support in the courtroom with her? And not just an advocate, but a family member or a friend?
What would happen if the actions of God’s children were so strong and prevalent in her darkest days that the presence of God was undeniable in her darkest times?
She would have hope.
She would be empowered.
She would feel safe.
She would have peace.
She would know that God’s love transcends life’s darkest moments.
She would experience the presence of God and the love of God through the actions of His children.
She would have support.
She would not sit alone.
One question remains . . . will you sit with her?
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Break the silence.
Molly-Catherine K. Goodson, M.A., Esq., is a North Carolina Assistant District Attorney, Adjunct Professor at Regent University, advocate, and speaker who is passionate about bringing professionals together to use a multi-faceted approach to address the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Molly-Catherine graduated from Liberty University School of Law with a Juris Doctor and a Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling with a Children, Families, and the Law specialization. The American Association of Christian Counselors and the Liberty Legal Journal have featured her research on child abuse, domestic violence, and the consequences of teen sexting. Her passion to “bridge the gap” between psychology and law, drives her to equip others on how to address the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse with an understanding of the heart and mind of a victim, ultimately leading to effective advocacy for the victim.