More than a Statistic

More than a Statistic


Molly-Catherine K. Goodson, M.A., J.D.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The pain of people impacted by domestic violence can be difficult to imagine. Yet even when it seems that there is no hope for change and help, God’s promises still ring true. When no one else seems to see, God sees. When no one else seems to care, God cares. The power of God to rescue the hurting out of terrible situations is incredible – and he uses people like you. Molly Catherine Goodson has shared a compelling personal testimony about how God worked in her life to strengthen, encourage, and equip her to be His hands and feet to others in domestic abuse situations. 


I was nine-years-old the first time I sat in Judge’s chambers. My big sister, only eleven-years-old at the time, sat next to me. On that day, we were there to explain to the judge why we did not want to have visitation with our father, the local pastor. To the outside world he was a great man, a great husband, and a great father. However, what occurred inside the four walls of our home was quite the opposite. Rather than a man filled with love – he was a man filled with a violent temper. His words were not uplifting – rather, they were demeaning and cruel. His arms were not arms of love – but arms of terror, as we never knew when that arm would sting and cause physical harm. On that day, the judge listened to our voices and valued the truth we shared.

The judge was not the only person I paid attention to that day. I watched our attorney fight for my mom, my sister, and me in a way that nobody else could. At the end of the day, the judge ordered that the only way we would have to see our father was if we wanted to. When we left the courthouse, I looked at my mom and told her that I wanted to be like our attorney when I grew up – I wanted to help girls like us.

I was thirteen-years-old the next time I sat in Judge’s chambers. This time was different. We were living in a different state and I was not a child any longer. I could not go with my big sister – I was by myself. But – not completely. Clinched in my hand was a single piece of paper full of God’s promises that I had written down the night before. I believed, even then, that there was power in the name of Jesus.

I told the judge the same things I had told the other judge when I was nine-years-old. However, the words that were said back to me were words that I will never forget. She told me the statistics for girls who grow up in homes where domestic violence is present. Statistics that say that I, as a child who witnessed domestic violence, experienced child abuse and did not have a relationship with my father, was supposed to fall into.

These statistics say that I am more likely to have sexual relations at a young age with multiple sexual partners, have unplanned pregnancies, have substance abuse issues, and the list goes on and on and on. Research was out there to back up her words, but all I heard from her that day was that there was no hope for a kid like me. The world had its expectations of what would become of me. Her last words to me were, “I can’t figure out why you’re normal without your father in your life, so I’m going to send you to a psychologist and let him figure you out.” Many months later, the psychologist came to the same conclusion as the first judge.

All I heard from that second judge, at the vulnerable age of thirteen, was the message that I was worthless, would never amount to anything of great success, and would never live a “normal” life. On the good days, her words didn’t haunt me. But on the bad days – when things didn’t go as planned, her voice was the one I heard in my head. And on those days, I had to battle what voice I would believe – the world that sees me as just another statistic, or the voice of truth – a Savior who tells me I am worthy, precious, loved, and redeemed.

I was twenty-six-years-old when I was going through a box and found that small piece of notebook paper I had taken to the courthouse when I was thirteen. It had been thirteen years since the day I wrote that verse down on that paper – but I could still remember it like it was yesterday. I remembered the way the judge looked at me and how the words she said stung me and shook me to the core. In fact, those words have never left me. Her voice is one I will never forget. I unfolded it and read these verses, along with others:

“The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” {Deuteronomy 1:30-31}

“But now, this is what the Lord says — he who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . for you are precious and honored in my sight and I love you.” {Isaiah 43:1-4}

I was twenty-seven-years-old and in my first week of a new job. God had seen fit in His plan to take me right back to that courthouse I sat in when I was thirteen. I walked up the stairs inside the courthouse with my boss – little did she know what was stirring in my heart and in my mind. I remember asking questions, making small talk, but really, I was trying to ignore the ache in my heart.

This was the place where I sat with the judge and heard her words of what was expected of me – of what obstacles were out there for me to overcome. This was the place I pictured in my mind when her words had come back to haunt me over the past fourteen years. This was the very last place I had to sit in the same room as my abusive father. I still remember the way it felt to sit on the wooden bench in the courtroom with him present – terrified of his presence even though I was surrounded by people who loved me and could protect me. Just his presence alone, was enough to cause my fragile frame to tremble.

Yet, here I was, at twenty-seven-years old and God had brought me to this courthouse on the flip side. Here, on that day, I was learning the ropes so that I could help victims of domestic violence and child abuse. As I walked past the courtroom I had sat in with my family on that day, and as I walked by the chambers for the various judges, my heart ached. For a brief moment I wondered, “Am I strong enough for this? Can I really work in this place?” Just as I asked the question, I heard God’s voice in my heart so strong that it felt audible. And this is what He said . . .

“I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”

These simple, yet profound words were the same words I had written on a piece of paper, clutched in my hand in this very place, fourteen years earlier.

You see, my friend, God is in the business of redemption. There is not a single tear that has fallen from your eyes that He has not seen. There is not a single ache in your heart that has not pained His own. God fights vigilantly for your heart even amidst life’s treacherous moments. You are precious to His heart and He loves you. His love for you is unlike any love you can find on this earth. His love is for you. His promises are true and His word is everlasting. He is the ultimate Redeemer and He longs to redeem your heart.

The world might categorize you and say that there is no hope for someone like you. The world might tell you that you are just another statistic due to the circumstances in your life that were and are outside of your control. What the world has factored out is what you can factor in – a relationship with Jesus Christ, the ultimate redeemer.

Sweet friend, let me remind you, you are more than a statistic. God has plans for you that are filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11). His plans for you are immeasurably more than you could ask or imagine (Ephesians 4:20). And at the root of it all is a love for you that went to the cross to die for you. If you had been the only one here on this earth – He still would have gone to the cross for you – He would leave ninety-nine to find you. And when He rose from the grave, He conquered all sin and death – He. Has. Overcome. Whatever happened in your life before today, whatever is happening today, and whatever will happen in your future – none of it is for vain – for God will work His promises in and through your life. Cling tightly to His side and listen to His reassurance that you are worthy of His love. Oh, how he loves you. He is for you. You are redeemed.

“For you are precious and honored in my sight . . . and I love you.” – God (Isaiah 43:4)

Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten.[1]

On average, nearly twenty people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States – more than ten million women and men in a single year.[2]

One in fifteen children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.[3]

If you are in an abusive relationship and need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224.



Molly-Catherine K. Goodson, M.A., J.D., lives in North Carolina where she works to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse get the help that they need to be empowered to live their lives as survivors.



[1] National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

[2] Id.

[3] Id.