More awareness of gender abuse within church groups has become news recently. Doctrinal groups both reflect and shape the culture they are in.
Groups like Christian for Biblical Equality, FaithTrust Institute, and Twitter voices such as #savedfromthe silence, #defendthe sheep, #churchtoo, #emptythepews and others are witnessing that church is not always safe for women.
During Domestic Violence month, I want to point out that an estimated 25% of church women are abused in their homes. They stay longer because of wrestling with faith questions.
Although prevalence seems to be higher in conservative religions, enforcement of patriarchy as God’s will is not limited to these groups. Many books are now coming out about the struggle to maintain faith within a system that does not honor the equality of women.
However, I did not find a self-help recovery workbook to help women sort out the complex and subtle pressures to keep them in an abusive relationship within some churches.
That is why I am happy to report that my workbook, Redemption from Biblical Battering, is now available on Amazon and Kindle. I hope you will consider it when you meet a woman of faith who thinks she must choose between her faith and her marriage.
October has been chosen as a month of over 100 chances for awareness or observances. The National Holiday Calendar list could be grouped into categories of animal care, human care, food, health, ethnicity, and more.
So it is tempting to wonder if there is a hierarchy of significance. Are, say, the human causes more important than the animal ones? Famously we are aware that there are more animal shelters per population than women’s shelters. But those who are animal lovers may brush this away because humans are supposed to be able to defend themselves.
I am proposing a shift in the way we think about the issue. I am proposing that we shift the emphasis away from violated women as a group that must be advocated for by others and therefore “lower” somehow and emphasize their strengths.
Women who have survived domestic violence are veterans, veterans of domestic wars. Many have endured the same tactics
October is Domestic Violence Prevention month.
Many say they are tired of hearing about it. Why doesn’t she just leave?
They don’t ask why he continues to be insane.
Why does he kick the woman carrying his child to the ground?
Why he hates someone who is devoted to his happiness?
Why he refuses to take responsibility for the smallest of his behaviors?
Why churches continue to look the other way?
Or worse, tell her it’s her God given duty to take it?
Unless someone has been there, they can’t understand.
It doesn’t start out this way.
Slowly and subtly the abuser begins to build, first, invisible mental and emotional bars around his partner.
Then eventually the bars become physical. They were already real.
And that is what those on the outside don’t understand. The bars are real, even though they can’t see them.
They are the same bars built in concentration camp tactics, cults, or any form of abuse.