She didn’t choose to be abused

11/8/2018, 2:16 p.m. | Updated on 11/8/2018, 2:16 p.m.

Whenever a patient comes into my office wearing sunglasses and the sun ain’t shining, I immediately know that the sun ain’t shining in that patient’s personal life.

Mrs. S. visited my office one evening, and upon removing her large sunglasses, it was evident that someone had not been kind to her. She had discoloration around both eyes and a large contusion across the bridge of her nose. It was clear that the excuse of walking into a door would not appear or sound believable.

This type of injury is usually the result of being struck with a blunt instrument or a fist. She was extremely embarrassed and, with her head bent down, did not offer any unreasonable excuse. In the waiting room, her two children, who had accompanied her, were waiting nervously. In response to my questions, she said her husband had “punished” her because he was not satisfied with the dinner she had prepared.

She said he would use any incident to emotionally, verbally or physically abuse her and the children. In the neighborhood, he was known as “the gentleman,” ready to lend a helping hand. His fellow worshipers in church would never believe the devil was at home.

I also learned that her children had experienced and witnessed her “punishment” on many occasions, but being afraid of their father’s wrath, they were already molded into accepting this anti-social behavior.

Mrs. S. had no close relatives or friends from whom she could obtain support. She was not allowed to work outside her home and was given a meager allowance to care for the needs of the house and her children. She was a domestic slave.

She had been abused for more than eight years and was convinced she was partially at fault. At one time, she thought she would leave her husband.

This patient was in desperate straits and needed multifaceted counseling. Mrs. S. could not afford legal action against her husband. I advised her to call the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (1-800-942-6906). This agency is alive and well and intends to keep its clients the same. They can be reached 24 hours a day for counseling and immediate intervention. I advised Mrs. S. to call when her husband was not at home. Mrs. S. was able to obtain legal and family counseling. Eventually her husband was persuaded to accept psychological counseling also.

In closing, remember the following from the Good Book:

Proverbs: 18:22—The man who finds a wife, finds a good thing; she is a blessing to him from the Lord.

Proverbs 31:10—If you can find a truly good wife, she is more than precious gems.