The ‘just war’ theory: how it relates to divorcing an abuser
Proponents of the ‘just war’ theory believe that aggression against others can be justified under certain conditions. Cicero was the first to argue for such an approach, but St. Augustine (AD 354-430) set forth its classic formulation:
Just cause —a defensive war, fought only to resist aggression.
Just intent—fought to secure justice, not for revenge, conquest, or money.
Last resort—all other attempts to resolve the conflict have clearly failed.
Legitimate authority—military force is authorized by the proper governmental powers.
Limited goals—achievable, seeking a just peace.
Proportionality—the good gained must justify the harm done.
Noncombatant immunity—civilians protected as far as is humanly possible. (source)
This post was contributed by our reader Freeatlast8. Many thanks to her.
Divorce was a last resort for me. It was not because I wanted to fight with my ex, but it was only to resist his aggression. The divorce was not for revenge, conquest, or money. It was to secure justice between him and me. All other attempts to resolve our conflict had clearly failed. I needed legal “force” to ensure the safety and well-being of my family. I was seeking a just peace for all concerned. I believe the good gained in the immediate and over the years ahead will justify any harm done by the divorce itself. My aim was to protect myself and my children as much as possible by removing us from the volatile environment we had been in.
All the parts of the Just War Theory underscore my decision to divorce, even though divorce was not what I ever wanted to do.
When your mate refuses to work on issues, you are left to keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, or take a new path. My path was not initially toward divorce but toward somehow finding help and healing for something very broken. My departure from home turned things upside down, and for safety and boundaries’ sake, divorce was where it happened to end up. It still makes me sick.
And, I didn’t ever really think of the divorce as a “war,” but more as a defense. I did not want a fight (there had been enough of that already), I just wanted peace. My ex continues to see ME as the aggressor and as his opponent. I don’t know if he will ever understand.
Why does it still hurt to think about this??? I so wish I could tuck it all away in a lost/faded/forgotten memory corner of my mind and bury it for good.