And Now, In Conclusion. . . .

I think I’ve finished with the topic of domestic violence for now.  I just want to say a couple of things to wrap up this topic. One of them is this:  The abuser uses silence to protect himself from being exposed.

Remember, this man is often respected in his workplace and, especially, in his church. He doesn’t want you to blow his cover.  He keeps you quiet by threats of more violence, or by promises that it won’t happen again.  He plays on your sympathy by pointing out that he could lose his job, or his position as an elder, deacon, or pastor.  He may even threaten to harm your children if you tell anyone what is going on in your home.

Years ago, in 1983, there was a case in central Minnesota in which a pastor’s wife shot and killed her husband. The whole area was shocked. This type of violence was pretty unusual. As the case was investigated, it became clear that the woman had been victimized for years by her control-freak spouse. He was smart, though. He never marked her anywhere that would show. He never let her go to a doctor or a hospital, either.

Once, however, the wife was having a dress fitted and needed to remove her outer clothing. The dressmaker saw the bruises.  If my memory is correct (and forgive me, it was a long time ago) the dressmaker testified at the trial about what she had seen. The woman acknowledged that she was indeed a victim of years of physical abuse. She never denied that she had shot and killed her husband.  She was so depressed and miserable that she was willing to go to prison or even death row in order to escape the pain, fear, and humiliation.

The jury found her innocent.  Self-defense.  Praise the Lord!

I’ve had some inquiries from women who are in violent marriages. They want help, but don’t know where to go.  I’ve done my best to give them some advice.  The one piece of advice I’d like to leave with you tonight is this:

If you are being hurt physically, get out right now. Call your local police and ask for help in finding a shelter if you don’t know where to go.

If you are being hurt emotionally, mentally, verbally, or spiritually you still need to consider separating for a time while you get your mind clear and can figure out what to do.

Please, do NOT allow yourself to be caught in the “just pray, obey, and stay” trap that well-meaning but clueless church leaders can often suggest to you. They don’t really understand.  If they could see even one incident of what goes on in your home, they would help you find a way to leave. Usually, they just can’t believe that someone they know and possibly respect could actually be capable of what you’re describing.

Leaving is not equivalent with divorcing. You can still try to get your abuser into some kind of counseling help. You can work on your own issues that kept you in this awful situation for so long.

Above all, don’t just do nothing.  Get help. God does not require you to accept a life of misery in the name of wifely submission.

6 thoughts on “And Now, In Conclusion. . . .

  1. I was in that ‘pray, stay and obey’ trap for many years. I looked at changing myself and my outlook toward my husband. I thought that if I became more spiritual or a better woman then things would change. It was all my fault. He spent years emotionally and psychologically abusing me and belittling me.
    One day when he was yelling at me and calling me names as I sat in the car, I turned and looked at my daughter’s face and saw complete and utter fear. I went to a friend’s home and told them that I needed help to leave my husband. They told me they couldn’t help until Monday.
    I told my husband on the weekend that I was leaving him. His response was to rape me and then claim later that I had wanted it. Apparently not yelling and fighting in order to not disturb the children is classed as compliance. He then cleared every bit of money out of the house and cleared the bank accounts. I left with only personal possessions and some furniture that I needed.
    My children and I lived in a spare room at my friend’s house for months until he moved out of the town and I felt safe enough to rent my own home. I gained nothing out of the divorce as he had placed all major assets in his name (his right he told me because he was the leader of the home) and then sold quite a lot of them prior to the divorce going through.
    Fast forward many, many years and I have finally forgiven him and even spoke to him recently at our son’s wedding. He is on to wife number 5 now and for all that he told me that I was going to hell because I left him, I am happy. I admit that I no longer go to church but I am safe and happy and loved by a wonderful man that would give me the world on a platter if I asked. He raised my children as his own and they adore him. I couldn’t ask for more.
    But it took a long time to heal from the abuse. My advice to anyone going through this is that there is a way out. 🙂 And a life to live. 🙂

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    1. I am sorry for your years of pain; I am so glad to know that you found a way out. I do wish you would reconsider attending church. None of your misery was God’s fault.Satan is always happy to stir up trouble and then point his finger at God, saying “He’s the one who did it!” Classic blame-shifting, just like abusers do when they are confronted!

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  2. I still have faith, I just don’t attend church. My son is the one in the family who prays for our souls lol (I say that in jest). My son is very involved in his church and married a beautiful Christian girl. They had a traditional white wedding in every sense of the word and I am so proud of them both. Thankyou for your concern but I am very content right now. (and I still pray).

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  3. Kim L

    Dear Linda, I remember reading about a professor, who finally took action against her husband. She planned it all out, wrote up all the abuse in a lengthy ‘paper’ and submitted it to the judge. She planned it all out so that her husband was away on a trip when she gave him the divorce papers. So when he came home, there were the papers on the table and she and the children were staying in a hotel in another city that was far enough away he couldn’t reach them quickly. That night, he took his own life. She commented that the judge who gave her the paperwork to keep him away and to start the divorce proceedings commented that her paper gave him all that he needed to give her the warrants, divorce papers, etc. and to get her some protection from her husband. How hard it must have been to know that here was a man you couldn’t trust not to hurt you and your children. He’d already told them that if they ever tried to get away, they would all die. It is frightening to realize that someone you loved might do this to you, but your essays are really important in pointing out what danger signs to be aware of, both for ourselves and for our friends & family. Thank you.

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    1. That’s a terrible story, Kim. There’s no happy ending for anyone. I’d just like to point out that the husband in this story used the ultimate weapon to saddle his wife with a lifetime of guilt and regret. He couldn’t have done anything that would hurt her any more. What a terrible legacy. I hope she’s gotten help, and is creating a new life for herself and the children.

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      1. Kim L

        Just the fact that she was able to write that essay and willing to share her story tells me that she probably did get help and that part of what worked for her was that she was very resolute & realistic about her decisions that night. Which is hard to do, when you’re going through that level of abuse. Scary story.

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