By Danni Moss
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[To read all the articles in this series, see Is Dr. James Dobson’s Advice to Abuse Victims Dangerous, Series.]
Another concern I have is more general in nature.
I understand the limitations of the forum for which this excerpt was used – though certainly, other pieces on the site about abuse are more comprehensive, so this answer did not have to be this brief.
But abuse is not a “two-paragraph” problem. There are a host of unanswered questions left. That fact, in and of itself, is not really a problem. This is just one piece on a broader topic, which is being addressed more fully on the site.
However, an issue I see here is that without clarification, those unanswered questions are going to have answers made by “suggestion.”
Let’s say someone is going to Dr. Dobson’s site for help with the question, “What should I do if my husband is abusive?” Given the fact that question is asked on this blog multiple times every day, I have to believe the Focus on the Family site gets that question a whole lot more frequently!
This seeker can find a lot of information on the website. But what about the other questions which are left unanswered? Might she reasonably assume the general collaborative association with which Dr. Dobson aligns himself, would reflect his ideas or offer some answers to those unanswered questions?
It doesn’t take but a few minutes scratch around to see that Dr. Dobson and other writers value the opinions of such groups as Eagle Forum and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. So this seeker would logically reason she may be able to find additional, like-spirited, help from these sources.
This is quite dangerous. The teachings and practices of these organizations are exactly the ones that justified, empowered and perpetuated the abuse in my marriage. I have seen the same in many other abusive marriages. The tangled knot of all the ways the teachings of these groups foster abuse is complex and deeply embedded.
Because these organizations cannot accept any of their philosophies could possibly be contributing to abuse, their answers are frequently going to be looking in the wrong direction. They also tend to include additional blame and condemnation for the victim, and attempt to lock that victim into further abuse while they “help.”
This may or may not be something Dr. Dobson overtly affirms. But the very visible association and approval of Focus on the Family toward these organizations leads to a connection which can put abuse victims in serious danger.
You can see the entire original exchange and related posts here: