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Featured Why I don't recommend abused women seek help from pastors or the church

Discussion in '"My Two Cents Worth"' started by Endeavourer, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    This was originally posted in the marriage forum but I'm reposting here by request so everyone else may join the discussion too.

    There are some good pastors out there who understand the dynamics of abuse. I've found them to be few and far between. Several dynamics are at play:

    a) protection of the ol' boys
    b) twisting Scripture verses about wives submitting to husbands
    c) the outsized influence in the churches of the popular book "Love and Respect", aka "The Husband's Calling to Abuse His Wife" that has made many recommended reading lists and widely adapted by conservative churches; however the book plays on Bible-y phrases and concepts that are unquestioned in the filters of many conservative believers to subtly twist and shift the enactment of submission beyond anything the Bible would recognize.

    Here is one story of an abused wife who sought help from the church. I'm so very sad to say this is result is more typical than not. So, so sad.

    Women Say Harvest Protected Abusive Husbands, Not Abused Wives, Part Two | Julie Roys

    "Love and Respect's" fingerprints are all over this part:

    "However, Frers [the abused wife] said in 2012, she told Becky Willey that she was afraid to join her husband who had three months earlier moved to Fairfax, Virginia, to plant a church. Frers said Willey dismissed her concerns, saying that all she had to do was sleep with her husband and things would be fine.

    Frers said this answer was typical for Becky Willey. Frers said in meetings with other pastors’ wives, Willey would teach wives that their number one role as wives was to give their husbands what no one else could—sex. Frers said Willey told wives that it was a sin for women to refuse their husbands sexually. This was one of the reasons Frers said she didn’t tell leaders at HBC Davenport about her husband’s sexual abuse. “I feared (my husband),” Frers said, “but I feared God even more.
     
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  2. The Righterzpen

    The Righterzpen Jesus is my Shield in any Desert or Storm

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    This goes for children too.

    How many "religiously sanctioned" books on child rearing (abuse) have I seen?
     
  3. bmjackson

    bmjackson Newbie

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    Thanks for adding his option so l can post.

    I am having this problem at the moment because of bullying by a fellow so called believer in my church who lives next door. Our pastor is refusing to call him out on bullying and trying to class it as a dispute requiring mediation. I am going to fight him over it by going to higher authorities regarding the safeguarding policy that says l should have been classed as high risk of abuse.

    He never assessed me as such and there was no support for me when it happened.
     
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  4. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    I agree with respect to physical and sexual abuse.

    Most abuse is not actionable by law enforcement, but the wife is enslaved under it because of a profound misunderstanding of her duties per Scripture.
     
  5. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    I'd consider moving on to another church community and shaking their dust off your feet instead of battling this. I've found that taking issues like these upstream is often not successful because the 'leadership' network sticks up for each other. Meanwhile it's really traumatizing to fight a battle against being abused and lose.

    Did you read the article I linked? It's a classic example of this. This wife escalated through the Harvest Bible Chapel organization and it refused to address one of its own. I could post more links just like it; same stuff, different place.
     
  6. A Realist

    A Realist Living in Reality

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    Understood; and the case in the OP was sexual abuse.
     
  7. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sadly, my mom had a close friend decades ago who went to her Presbyterian pastor re: her pretty severe spousal abuse situation. Surprisingly, her minister told he could not go along with her getting a divorce. Fortunately for her, she did end up getting a divorce.
     
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  8. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that was an element of it, and I agree with your comment with respect to that.

    I just wanted to clarify your post because some people view marital abuse as only that which is physical in some way. Some even teach there is no such thing as marital rape! Emotional, mental and spiritual abuse can be as emotionally devastating as physical abuse.
     
  9. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, many pastors do not understand that wives being subjugated and enslaved to abuse is NOT Scriptural.
     
  10. bmjackson

    bmjackson Newbie

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    I might change church because of a probable smear campaign from abuser questioning my sanity. I would like to do the training for this policy and call out the crap.
     
  11. bmjackson

    bmjackson Newbie

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    I feel that it would e good if l am strong enough to be true to my truth for my inner healing from lifelong abuse though l know l will need support for this.
     
  12. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, it may be best for your emotional health to just move on and leave them to themselves.

    When your value and worth is on the line while calling out 'leadership', it is an battle that is usually too expensive even if you win and devastating with long term effects if you lose.
     
  13. ChicanaRose

    ChicanaRose Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for posting here!

    Women sometimes blame themselves, or are blamed by others for "provoking" a man to violence, as if there is any excuse for abuse. There are just too many victim-blaming that happens.

    Someone needs to develop a training curriculum for church leaders on how to biblically and properly deal with DV. I feel that we are far behind the world on this subject.
     
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  14. bmjackson

    bmjackson Newbie

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    Thanks for the warning. But wouldn't God want the truth of be fought for?
     
  15. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes its best to leave the Lord's battles to Him. When you are defending your dignity and value, the fight takes a pretty deep toll on you.

    Sometimes the approach you are suggesting can be akin to thinking it's your job to help God fulfill his prophesies. Or, trying to be the 'deputy Holy Spirit'.

    Not all battles are for you at this time, and God certainly is capable of sending his Spirit to convict the hearts of people at the time He wills to do it.

    You seem to be really hurt by what is going on, which is understandable. A place of hurt is usually not a very strong position for launching a battle.
     
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  16. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

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    Yes, so true!!

    Victim blaming is often in the form of:
    a) "if you would submit better your marriage would be better", or
    b) sin leveling where a response to abuse is said to be 50% responsible, which in practice becomes 100% responsible for 'provoking' your own abuse.
     
  17. WolfGate

    WolfGate Senior Member

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    Fully realizing abuse claims have been mishandled in the more nefarious ways you mentioned, IMHO you are missing a far larger reason abuse gets mishandled by the church - and that causes it to be mishandled often in churches that are not in the conservative variety you described. There is much familiarity among members of a church, and that familiarity results in people believing what they see in someone is all of the reality of that person. Most abusers are really good at hiding that side of their personality, certainly within the church, and appearing to never be the type of person who would do "that".

    So, whe
    n an accusation of abuse comes out it truly seems unbelievable and people struggle to make it fit into their current perceptions of the people involved.


    Faced with such a unbelievable scenario the reality is that people in that situation cannot process it , and as a result tend to almost welcome excuses which make it not true, or at least not as bad as they fear it would be. The result there is the abuser tends to get believed more than the abused because even very good people emotionally want it to be that way, and that way too often overpowers logic and objective processing.

    That is why all churches need to have a process in place for how they will deal with any abuse claim, regardless of who is involved. That process needs to include making no judgements or comments that would minimize the claims of abuse or cause the accuser to shut down. The process needs to understand that the abused will often float a trial balloon, which can be easy to dismiss as minor, but in the abused eyes is part of a very large iceberg. Fail to see that balloon and respond, and the abused feels like there is no help in that church. The process needs to create very objective steps that are taken in every case, including getting parties who are at least trained to move past any familiarity and better yet are truly neutral to investigate. False abuse claims do happen, and they can be scary and damaging, but what is far scarier and damaging is the abuse inflicted on the abused who stay silent in fear and hopelessness.

    This is a problem that needs to be dealt with by all churches - liberal, conservative, orthodox, evangelical, whatever. They all deal with it way too often.
     
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  18. RKN

    RKN New Member

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    This idea of someone developing a training program for church leadership has been on my mind recently. Perhaps church leaders should be mandatory reporters?
     
  19. carp614

    carp614 Member

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    As one who has studied this book and done the small group curriculum I don't think your characterization of Eggerichs's book is fair.

    This book has been absolutely vital to me in my journey towards becoming the kind of Husband my wife deserves and the Lord expects me to be. It was by no means the end of that journey, but it provided a foundation from which I could grow that has been indispensable. It's not the authors fault that these concepts are so badly skewed by readers and pastors alike.

    Further, while I respect your well supported opinion herein, I disagree with your recommendation to abused women to avoid "pastors or the church" in seeking help. I propose to instead recommend that abused women seek help from any and all possible sources until they get the help they need.

    Don't be dissuaded from seeking help simply because of the possibility that the person trying to help you might screw it up. Perfection elludes us all.
     
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  20. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    I think this topic is best heeded with words from James:

    Be slow to speak. Quick to listen. And slow to anger.

    Domestic disagreements always involve elements that the hearer isn’t privy to. Not solely due to absence. But also the couple’s history and contributing factors that have brought things to a head.

    We should avoid making judgments and provide support for both. Listening and prayer is a must as is safety and cooling for each.

    Both should be encouraged to seek the Lord in prayer and given access to counselors, intercessors, and social resources as needed.

    I have learned from two decades of unspeakable admissions (from others) of our ability to behave unfathomably behind closed doors. We maim those closest to us in ways we’d never treat a friend or stranger.

    We are apt to rest on the consequence and pick sides. Viewing one party as the aggressor and the other as victim when the truth is probably worse. Mutual harm has occurred and displayed in different ways. Both are unloving.

    The bible provides telling examples of character that reveal truths about our nature that’s best heeded. Men sin more frequently in ways that women don’t and the reverse is true.

    We would do well to explore the warnings to our sex and its failings. Our missteps will frequently occur in these guises more than the others.

    Above all, love must be the remedy for every hand and ear that encounters abuse of any sort. We must guard our hearts and search them for biases which prevent us from executing God’s will as He prefers.

    Breakdowns in human relations are not a bandwagon we should leap upon. They are opportunities for prayer and reflection of our connections. We should consider if we’re loving our neighbor or falling short. Are we equally defiled and oblivious to our stench? I think in most cases the answer is yes.

    And if we find it true for ourselves we should bear no surprise when our brethren fall short. Our fallibility makes us incapable of executing godliness perfectly. We will fail as leaders, parents, companions, employees, and friends.

    Prayer and grace are the remedy. As is love and forgiveness.
     
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