Monday, February 12, 2007

Preacher's Wife Killed Husband Because of Abuse, Family Says

Posted by Hannah at 9:34 AM

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Parts of Article:

It was a crime that stunned the nation. In March, 32-year-old Mary Winkler, a soft-spoken preacher's wife, was charged with the murder of husband Matt, a Church of Christ minister in the small town of Selmer, Tenn.


"Physical, mental, verbal," said Clark Freeman, Winkler's father. "I don't know how she took it. She's a stronger individual than I am."

Freeman says the abuse became more apparent the last three years of Winkler and Matt's marriage.

"I saw bad bruises. The heaviest of makeup covering facial bruises," Freeman said. "So one day, I confronted her. I said, 'Mary Carol, you are coming off as a very abused wife, very battered.'"

But Freeman says she denied the accusations.

"[She] would hang her head and say, 'No, daddy, everything's all right. Everything's all right.'"


"What went on behind their closed doors is going to have to be told," said Winkler's attorney Leslie Ballin. "Some of what we've got from the state of Tennessee touches on sexual abuse."



What's striking to many outsiders is how accepting and supportive the majority of the community has been to Winkler.



That sense of forgiveness, community members say, stems from the town's Christian roots and from its tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt.



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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know that as a Christian wife who has also survived the verbal, emotional, sexual and physical abuse from her faithful church-going husband (we are now separated) that it is the most painful grief and the greatest shame and embarrassment that I've ever been through. Its shameful not just to the parents, but also to our families and especially within our church. Abused women too often feel obligated to keep all the secrets locked up in her heart, so not to publicize to anyone this great shame for both the abused and the abuser. Too many times the Pastors fail to address issues of abuse happening even amongst their own flock. This causes the woman to feel re-victimized all over again. We, as the Body of Christ need to learn how to grow more compassionate and take more interest in the lives around them...even the one sitting next to the in the pew every Sunday. You have no idea the depth and level of pain that person may be going through. Its time that we RISE UP in love for each other, or else the world will never see Christ, their much needed salvation.

Anonymous said...

I too have experience since marrying my church dedicated husband almost 13 yrs ago. I was saved many yrs before we met and since marrying him, I have been hurt by the church and by him. He places the church before me and the church embraces him, despite the things that he has done. I have with stood his abuse and finally have not attend church with him for about 2yrs. Because of this, he has tried to divorce me twice both times returning. He nows wants me to return to church but I have gone through so much with him, that I have no desire to attend with him. I always felt the church was a place that you go to get help and guidance but I found out really fast, as long as you attend and show yourself and pay your tithe that is all that matters. I saw and experienced the thing inwhich he put me through and have come out of it a better person. Since the last reconcilation, he has demanded things from me and has not consider all the pain that he has placed on me. In my heart, I want to be free of him and I feel that he is brain washed by the church to the point that he will take a bullet for them. I thought that God comes first and the family, not the church. Just a thought

h on 5:08 PM said...

I'm sorry you have had to go thru is. You are correct - God, Family, Church in that order.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I too am a christian and have deep thoughts on this topic. Would any of you be interrested in telling me what denomination you are? As a church, sometimes we are more condeming than forgiving. I wonder if Winkler saw it as easier to kill her husband and run than to leave him and ask for support from her church. That is a shame.

h on 2:18 PM said...

People come here from all denominations and faith. I don't think there is a certain denomination that is KNOWN for this.

From what I have seen is the church tends to take the one that mentions trouble, and asks them to continue to work on themselves. No real work is doing done in the other direction, and instead of compassion and empathy simplistic statements of 'give it to God' are handed out.

If you read notes on this blog alone you will know that the pressure is intense to keep the marriage together at all costs, and almost no accountability is handed down. Its like taking the path of less resistance to me at times.

I'm not sure her demonation played into all of it, and it could have been the southern culture as well. You die to yourself to be submissive to your husband. If something goes wrong...you must NOT be the proper wife! Very common and very sad! I'm NOT saying only the south does this...it just reminded me of this aspect because of the location.

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