A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Pippa’s Story – by Pippa

This is Pippa’s comment to the blog post asking abuse victims to tell us their experiences that have made it impossible for them to be in a local church, at least at this time. (link) We wanted to put what Pippa said in a more visible format because it is so typical and it exposes what is happening everyday in our churches when a victim seeks help from her pastor and others.  At this present moment, I know of abusers who are 1) pastors, 2) missionaries, 3) Bible study leaders, and of course, 4) “Eminent saints” in their local church.  This is not rare.  It is a widespread plague, and it is the result not only of our ignorance of the psychology and tactics of evil, but it is the harvest we are reaping for having disobeyed Christ for so long in our churches.  As Pastor Larry Dean emphasizes, where repentance is not preached and demanded, the church inevitably will cease to be the church. Hear is Pippa’s sad experience

“I have not attended a traditional church regularly for almost 3 years. I have plans to return to the first church our family attended when the divorce is complete. I was, and as far as I know, still am a member of another church since the mid 1980s.

About 15 years ago, I went to the pastor who was there for a majority of the time in search of help when my ex-husband-to-be (EHTB) was having an affair, being verbally abusive and was not supporting the family despite a big job. I told the pastor, who was much loved by the congregation, as much as I was able about the “marriage” in the hour that I had. He made few comments and at the end told me to come back with the EHTB. The EHTB was agreeable and came to speak to the pastor with me. He was enraged, lied about and denied everything, for which I had solid proof. At the end of that session during which I was allowed to say nothing, the pastor said “I believe you (EHTB).” I was foolish enough to think to myself “He is just trying to establish a working relationship with (the EXTB).” I learned this was far from the truth. At one point, that pastor called me at work and said (the EHTB) had told him that I was having an affair and asked me if that was true. (I have not been unfaithful in the almost 33 years of “marriage.”)

In the past few years we had attended several other churches, after returning from the mission field (yes, long story) and living in a different area of town. At the one we attended most frequently, we also attended a home group very regularly. When the EHTB escalated his most recent episode of emotional, verbal, spiritual and in one instance an episode of brief physical threat, and I saw for the first time how far he had gotten with shrinking my circle of acquaintances, friends and family, I made a firm decision to divorce. I stopped going to the home group or any place with him. The EHTB not only continued that group but also starting going to several others and frequently having meetings and coffee with pastors around town. No one from the home group ever contacted me. This is just dumb-founding to me. Not one called me or emailed me. Nothing.

So to sum up, I am not believed or I am suspected of being the guilty party by many people who profess to be Christians. One other part of this, on which I haven’t elaborated, is that the EHTB is hanging on and I believe would interfere by attempting to slander me if I tried to become involved right now.

I feel that most “church people” avoid me whenever they can. They have little to say to me when they can’t avoid me. This was compounded by the loss of my middle son, who passed in 2009. No one knows what to say to me at the best. At the worst, they believe the lies the EHTB has told about me.

Fortunately I am never alone. The Lord is always with me. I have Christ following women who are close friends, several of whom have been in the same situation. I also have a small group of Christ following women who haven’t been in this spot but do everything they can to be supportive.”

We would be very glad to hear your comments and insights into Pippa’s story.  Christ has given it a happy ending – her faith has prevailed and she is an overcomer big time!

4 Comments

  1. Tragically, I heard her story from another client last week. These are wonderful women who have been labeled liars, adulterers and abusers, and yet they are the victims. The hope my client has is that one of the women from her previous (and still ex husband’s) small group invited her out for coffee, and was willing to hear “her” side, which she believes. Slowly but steady … Blessings to you, Pippa. We believe you.

  2. Pippa

    Morven
    Thank you so much. I definitely never ever in my worst nightmare imagined that anyone at all would believe him instead of me. I thought that it would be clear to everyone that I was the one who was functioning, providing emotionally, financially, etc for my family. The EHTB is very verbally adept and sly, and has managed to gradually paint a bad picture of me without outright denigration for the most part in front of others. He spends all of his time working on his facade. I just want to warn others who find themselves early in the process of being abused and their souls being gradually crushed that this can happen to them.
    I really appreciate the support.
    Pippa

    • Jeff Crippen

      Pippa- If we ever meet our blog readers in person, they will have to have nametags with “Pippa” or “truthseeker” or such!! We are like truckers from the old CB radio days with our “handles” 🙂 Anyway, Pippa, yes – who would have thought? I have been wondering – just what is in it for people that they ally with the abuser? Yes, he is very deceitful and slick. But I don’t think that explains everything. I think that as we read in the book Trauma and Recovery, it is less costly to stand with the perpetrator than with the victim in any case of the abuse of power. The perpetrator/abuser is the one with power and control. The victim is, in contrast, the one who is weak and has nothing to offer us if we stand with her. James says it is the rich man who oppresses us, yet we show him favor in our churches and tell the poor man to go sit on the floor someplace. In our sin, we gravitate to the broad and easy way – we stand with the oppressor. In this world, the wisdom of God is foolishness. God has chosen the foolishness of His wisdom to shame the wise, the weak and lowly of this world to do the same. CHRIST CHOOSES US!! And in the end, that is all that matters. We go outside the camp to HIM, where He is despised and cursed. We bear His shame and reproach (Hebrews 13) there, and one day it is going to end in the glory of the New Creation. We must keep our eyes on Christ, no matter if that means going outside the “camp” of the local church we once thought was our home. And eventually we will find other “outsiders” there too, and they will stand with us.

  3. I’m glad Jeff re-posted your story here, Pippa. It is typological. A perfect case study in the abuser’s tactics of enlisting allies and slowly but inexorably slandering his victim and thereby isolating her from anyone who might support her.

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