The Old, Old, Continuing Story Told by Abuse Victims
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
The following is a comment to another blog post (How Many Times Should Abuse be Tolerated?). But I wanted to post it here very visibly because it is so typical of the experience of Christian women and their experience with their churches when they ask for help with an abuse situation. You’ve heard and many of you have lived it. Each story has a face with a name, and usually with children:
“I know now that my situation was strongly affected by one incident in about the 7th year of our marriage. Until that time I was aware that my husband used verbal and emotional bullying tactics sometimes and never apologized, but I made excuses because he had grown up in a home where there was a lot of religious hypocrisy. I had grown up around hypocrisy as well, but I thought we were both committed to learning and growing as believers, so I accepted his selfish behavior as just part of the growing process. One day his discipline of our two small children went too far, and in his anger he injured them. He left the scene immediately and I took care of them. I was sure it was an accident, but I struggled with what to do about it.”
She continues —
“He would not talk about it or apologize. Aside from this one incident he never physically hurt them again. But I knew he could not control his anger and it could happen again. I felt responsible to see that he never lost his temper like that again. Whenever I tried to talk with him about our disagreements and how we handled them, it just resulted in the verbal and emotional abuse escalating. I never could call it “abuse”, because he never hit me. There were times that I wished he would hit me so that I could then get help. I thought I was “protecting” our children because most of the abuse was directed at me, but I now know it hurt them terribly. It was because of them that I finally separated from him. I did not think I had the strength or self-confidence to be able to leave, but a mother will find the strength when she needs to protect her children. The Lord showed me that I was “protecting” them in the wrong way. He provided for every step, when I did not think I could, because my church leaders refused to get involved.”
I don’t know if it happened in this case, but many of you also know how that these stories so often end in “he” remaining in the church that used to be hers, while she has to leave. Shunned because “he” wanted sooooo much to preserve his marriage. Oh, how hard he tried. And how so many of the church members and pastors tried and tried to get her to stay and do God’s will. But she wouldn’t. She separated. She divorced. She….. sinned.
Strange, however. The Spirit of Christ in her doesn’t condemn her at all. In fact, the Lord Himself, as it turns out, is the one who enabled her to get free and led her to that freedom.