She feared for her life.
He stared at her with a terrifying rage. His temples pulsated.
Her heart pounded.
She was trapped – physically, for he had cornered her in the bathroom. All 6’2”, 250 pounds of him. What would he do? How far would he go?
Would she die? Or just go to the hospital?
She was also trapped emotionally and mentally.
This man about to violently assault her – again – was the same man she’d glowingly walked down the aisle with nearly 20 years before. He had been the handsome, charming hunk who any girl would swoon over.
What a catch! And a devoted Christian too. He helped lead her to the Lord, talking to her about Jesus.
Impressive. He had it all.
She was married to someone the outside world knew only as one kind of man – and she knew as quite another. Would anyone believe her? Jekyll was so persuasive, polite and amiable that Hyde was inconceivable.
She had fallen in love with an attractive monster.
His emotions could go from 0-100 faster than a Maserati.
Hers were always on a high wire – taut, precarious, nerve-wracking, only moments from danger.
This particular evening, they were preparing to attend a business meeting and he wasn’t getting ready. He was laying on their bed. She urged him, he did not respond.
They began to argue.
Suddenly, “he lunged at me and grabbed my head in his hands, driving his thumbs into my eye sockets. I couldn’t move, couldn’t get up. I remember thinking my skull might crack. I feared my head might split open from the enormous force. The pain was excruciating.”
She survived – with bruises.
This wasn’t the first time he attacked her. But it would be the last.
The bruises weren’t just on her body – they were on her soul.
“Something broke inside me,” she wrote. “Mentally, emotionally and physically, I was totally depleted.” The future would be different. This couldn’t go on. She couldn’t go on – not like this.
“On that day, with bruises still marking my face and neck, I made my first step toward healing well and living free. I chose me.”
This is Dr. Ramona Probasco.
She’s a Marriage and Family Therapist, devoted mother, loving wife and faith-filled Christian believer. This lovely, poised, well-spoken and highly intelligent woman is also a courageous survivor of violent domestic abuse.
Dr. Ramona, as she is affectionately known to clients and colleagues, is now also an author.
She has bravely chosen to tell her story in Healing Well and Living Free from an Abusive Relationship: from Victim to Survivor to Overcomer.
Ramona has made this successful transformation with the strength and grace of God, the support of a loving and loyal family – including a husband who adores and honors her – and the faithful encouragement of friends and colleagues.
The book describes Dr. Ramona’s journey in compelling prose and moving detail. It captivates from page one and never lets go.
As she writes, “This is not going to be a casual, poolside read.” She has included probing and profound questions “to ponder” at the end of each chapter, along with a Prayer of Reflection and an assortment of powerful scriptures under the heading, God’s Enduring Promises. These alone are worth the price of the book.
This is a must-read story and its timing couldn’t be better.
In the United States, one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
How women are treated by men increasingly dominates the news. Abuse and exploitation of women has made headlines and stirred controversy in virtually every profession and institution in America.
While the Catholic Church has struggled with the abuse of altar boys by priests and its coverup, Southern Baptists recently discovered their own house is not morally in order when it comes to honoring and respecting women.
In the world’s largest Protestant denomination, male chauvinism has too often ruled a corrupt and arrogant hierarchy. Paige Patterson, SBC icon and seminary president, was fired and punished for telling a female student not to report her alleged rape to authorities and saying to a wife with blackened eyes she should return to her husband.
Power corrupts and especially so when it’s wielded by powerful men over women.
“Domestic violence has been glossed over, set aside, and quite honestly ignored for years,” says former NFL player Ray McElroy in his Foreword to Dr. Ramona’s book.
Why re-visit such a painful past? Why arouse the haunted memories and raw emotions of a former life, now joyfully made new by the grace of God?
Because others need hope. They need help.
Abused women – and men – need to know there’s a way forward and a way out of this dark and dangerous valley – this lonely midnight of the soul.
“Dr. Ramona is a picture of courage, willing to be vulnerable and transparent through her own painful past in an effort to lift others out of their current dark realities.”
God “comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others,” Paul explains to the Corinthian believers. “When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (II Corinthians 1: 4).
“The great illusion of leadership,” wrote Henry Nouwen in The Wounded Healer, “is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.”
Empathy – having been in that desert – more than sympathy, defines our reason to help and to serve.
For Dr. Ramona Probasco, a “wounded healer”, that’s more than reason enough.