There was a quote in this article by a Christian lady that I so relate to.
She said something close to, “How can I go to my friends in the church, and admit that stuff like this is happening in MY HOME?? Christians have this “ideal” thing going on in their heads…how you are to live, behave, wear, etc. I’m not living that “safe” environment they consider normal!”
Sometimes finding the right term, word, concept for abuse in the homes of Christians can be a very contentious issue.
Crisis center workers or advocates of this issue refer to women that are harmed physically or psychologically by their husbands (or partners) as “woman abuse” or “Wife Abuse”. They see this as male violence against women. They are basically stating that Women and Children become targets in their home from unrestrained male aggression. They don’t see it as a “family issue”, but see it as a REAL example of male violence against women. When a woman flees her home and escapes to a shelter trying to get away from the abuse from a man – they visualize her as an example of male control over a woman. The true example of gender inequity!
While one side sees this as a gender power imbalance, conservative Protestant views regard this abusive behavior as evidence that God’s design for us in marriage has been misunderstood or abandoned.
They view abuse as “family violence”, and their new label is now considered a “family issue”. They do of course hold the male (at times) accountable for their actions, but they also believe that both sides hold some responsibility for what happened and there has be to potential for repair to the relationship.
Since the traditional family is idolized within the faith society, abuse is seen as “spiritual confusion” over God’s plan for the “happily ever after” family!
To me this shows a very big difference in attitudes towards abuse.
What is really strange to me is the difference in how they view abuse within their faith community families, and how they view the secular community on the same matters.
If a Christian man abuses or get violence with his wife that is looked upon as “spiritual immaturity”. The church will recognize society’s definition of abuse, and use their explanations for abuse among non-church families. On the other hand, they are unwilling to use those same views within the church community.
The focus on this as just “another” sin, and it must be some type of spiritual warfare between good and evil! Since the abuse must have some roots in spiritual factors it must also have its cure! The secular world doesn’t have that asset! The Secular help in the best position to help the man that abuses, and that woman than their church!
Since the church has such difference views or models on how Christians abusers and non-Christian abusers are seen answers MY questions as to why they are VERY reluctant to make referrals outside their church’s network of help. Refusal to refer to secular agencies that deal with abuse shows their unwillingness to see “non-spiritual” forces that are at work within their church. Very interesting I think!
When is the last time you heard your Pastor use the pulpit to clearly CONDEMN abuse, and offer hope and refuge to its victims? According to this study only 31% of clergy reported that they preached a message on wife abuse and/or child abuse. When they did the follow up personal interviews with the church going woman very few even recall hearing such a message.
If they did ONE they would suggest to their church going victims that they have safe place to go to with their pain.
TWO it would be very healing if someone would give voice for their experience.
THREE it would send out a VERY clear message that communities of faith WILL NOT tolerate abuse of any kind, and do actually promote abuse free family lifestyles.
FOURTH it would send a message to many of the abusers in a very rare opportunity – a GROUP setting instead of an individual setting what church's stand actually is!
This “HOLY HUSH” maybe in attempt not to scare off the men. Pastors report that they preach mostly to women. Maybe if clergy realized how essential the condemnation of abuse is to a woman’s healing journey, or that it may help her speak up about her suffering – or possibility for an abuser to stop hurting and seek help…. maybe possibly our pastors may reconsider their silence.
I'm actually enjoying this article!
There is way more detail to it - I just noted a couple of highlights in my own words. Again they are more professional with the subject!