A Cry For Justice

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

Family Dogs Have it Better than Wives? — An Article by Cindy Kunsman

Our faithful friend, Barnabas in Training, brought this article to our attention over the weekend. It is lengthy, but worth the read. Here is the beginning of the post.  Go here [Internet Archive link] to continue reading. Do be aware that this article is alarming, to say the least. Read with caution.  And thank you Cindy!

When I first heard Janet Levinson from the Protective Mother’s Alliance speak for the first time, I had no idea what was coming. I sat near the front, and I remember wishing later that I’d hidden somewhere in the back of the crowd. Tears streamed down my face throughout her entire presentation. Why, you many wonder? Her talk reminded me of the plight of many wives and mothers I’ve come to know… in the churches I’ve attended. When churches dehumanize and vilify women, for several reasons, the family dog often gets higher esteem…..

7/2014 Editor’s note:  Since this post was published PMA has promoted and endorsed activities that are unbiblical and thus we no longer endorse their website.


  1. Me

    Worth clicking on the link to read the whole thing and then watch the video at the end.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Wendell G

    Shocking! I knew the shepherding movement was bad, but I didn’t realize how bad, nor how much of their teaching has actually infiltrated other churches.

    I’m trying to set up an appointment with the pastor of the church we have been visiting. My wife and I are very interested in staying here, but one of the things I want to ask him is how they believe on abuse, divorce for abuse and the concept of a woman simply submitting to the abusive husband.

    This church is new enough and the pastor young enough, I am not sure he has really thought about it, so it might be an opportunity to educate him.

  3. G

    Thank you for sharing, excellent link. Could really relate to the statements in the video.

  4. Katy

    only had time to read the article – that was incredible. I had no idea that churches would call CPS and file false reports on wives complaining of abuse. That crosses the line from being ignorant of abuse to being flat-out handmaidens of Satan.

  5. Anonymous

    They said this movement had died, but I think the ones who came behind it, either revived it or blew its flames even higher. Why can’t we just read the word “submission” as it is written? Why do we have to put all these additional “tags” on it, and redefine it, so that it becomes an oppressive, abusive, horrid thing, instead of the beautiful and loving act it was intended by God to be. Satan always has a counterfeit, and the submission being taught today, is exactly that – a counterfeit to how God really intended submission to work. So sad.

    Thanks so much for sharing this Megan. I really needed to read that and although I am not done reading through all the links, it will be my bedtime reading for the next week. Just pray I don’t have nightmares from reading it! ; )

  6. Just Me

    This was both eye-opening and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s one thing (although still not acceptable) for pastors/elders to be ignorant of abuse and therefore not take action against it. It’s such a different level for them to make false CPS claims and give false testimony in court all for the sake of keeping a women and children in oppression. Pure evil.

  7. Barnabasintraining

    Katy and Just Me,

    That’s what I said. I cannot conceive of such a thing as fraudulent reporting to CPS to keep someone in tow.

    • Wendell G

      I simply don’t understand how they can square filing a false report with CPS with Scripture. It violates all the tenets and laws about honesty. Any church leader that would file a false government report about anyone has forfeited their right to be in church leadership in my mind.

      • Just Me

        Perhaps they justify it with the story of Rahab, who lied to protect Israel’s spies. They’re trying to protect authority at all costs because in their minds, authority and hierarchy are the most important aspects of the Christian life, no matter how abusive the authority figures are.

      • Barnabasintraining

        It’s just so twisted and sick. Really really frightening. They actually think this is who Jesus is?

  8. Jodi

    This was exactly the attitude in my last church and in so many churches where I live. The worst thing is , this is the exact attitude of most of the women in my homeschool group-so if you don’t get it at church, you get it there. Imagine the reaction when I told the “leader” of this group that I was filing for divorce? She never answered my email. To this day I haven’t heard a word from any of the other women, except the ones I was already close to(only 2 women). It is just not done.

  9. Jodi

    I should also add, several of the women studied the book “How to be a helpmeet” I am thankful I wasn’t there. They also follow Doug WIlson and Vision Forum and all those people. Just steeped in the patriarchal movement.

  10. Kathy seldon

    I was drawn to this title because I can relate. I neve experienced anything as horrific as this story; my husband would always pick on me. He would tickle and poke and pinch and it drove me mad. Where was the tender affection a new wife looks forward to? When he asked for a dog I said yes because I was thinking “maybe he’ll get his picking out on the dog so he can cuddle with me”. But instead he still picked on me and cuddled and played with the dog. It’s so much fun being jealous of a dog only months into your marriage.

    • Your story makes me sad, Kathy. How poignant. And what a way to have a wake up call, when you see the dog being given the affection that you are longing for! 😦

      • Kathy seldon

        thanks Barbara, I think sometimes I make light of the pain I felt in some of those situations because it’s easier than always feeling that pain everytime I remember. Having you and the others on this blog constantly validate the pain and wrongness of my stories and the stories of the other members is an absolute balm to my soul.

      • Just Me

        Kathy, your husband reminds me of my husband’s brother. Every time I read an article about an abuser, I see his face. He’s horrible to everyone. We have actually had to speak to him on 3 separate occasions because he kicks my 4 year old son (who was 3 at the time of these incidents) for fun, and my son is scared of him because of it. This man is in his 40’s and he has needed to be asked 3 times to stop kicking a little child!!?? If it were up to me, we’d never see him again.

        I’m glad you’re finding validation here. It’s immensely helpful to healing, isn’t it?

      • Kathy seldon

        JustMe, how infuriating! I’m so sorry you have to deal with that. I have a three year old, and I was surprised at how strong my mama bear instinct was when he started getting older. I’ve openly contemplated if I would press charges against an in-law for harming one of my boys, and after some consideration I settled on a resounding “you bet I’d press charges”. My FIL was recounting a story from his childhood of when his grandfather wrapped a whip around is ankles and pulled his feet out from under him slamming his face to the floor to teach him not to run in the house. He told this story with an air nostalgia in his voice, like those were the good old days. Later I thought about that and decided I would have no problem pressing charges on him for something like that. It’s so hard when it’s family, especially when it’s in-laws. You hate stirring up too much trouble. But a friend of mine made a good point, family shouldn’t be held to lower standards on the grounds of being family. If anything they should be held to a higher standard. And if I wouldn’t let a complete stranger get away with it, I certainly won’t tolerate from a relative.
        I’m in no way telling you what do, I’m not in your situation and could never fully understand your circumstances. But I know how maddening it must be to watch a grown man hurt your son and not be able to respond how you would really like to.

      • Just Me

        Kathy, THANK YOU so much for having such a strong reaction about my awful brother in law. Sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy and making too big a deal of things. I casually mentioned the situation to a lawyer and asked if it would qualify for a restraining order against him for my son. She said that a judge would likely look at it as horseplay. And it is horseplay. But I think horseplay, most of the time, is bullying in disguise, especially if it frightens the child. And my husband would likely lie in court to protect his brother, his loyalty always lies with his brother. Basically, brother in law would follow my son around and repeatedly lightly kick him in the back of the legs and butt (like 30 times in a row). The first 2 times it happened, I had to pressure my husband to tell him to stop. My husband didn’t want to, so I told him if he didn’t do it, I would do it, and I couldn’t promise that I’d be able to contain my temper if I did. (I blew up at brother in law once 7 years ago, and the awkwardness never went away after that incident. I was entirely right to be angry at him in that situation, but obviously, blowing up at him was the wrong response and I did aplogize to him later that same day). My husband, wanting to avoid another blow up, told him to stop those first 2 times. The third time was right before church and I didn’t see it (my husband did), but my son told me about it. I sat through the service with steam coming out of my ears. I kept praying that God would calm me down and help me control my anger, and I don’t remember a single thing that the pastor said. After the service, I couldn’t find him to confront him, and I was still so mad I was shaking. My husband kept telling me not to talk to him and that he would do it, but I was done keeping my mouth shut. We finally left, and when we were walking to our car, brother in law came over, and my son saw him and hid himself behind my legs. Brother in law asked him why he was hiding and I was able to say in a calm voice (God gave me peace in that moment) “He’s afraid of you because you keep kicking him.” He denied it, but I said “He told me that you kicked him before church.” He said “No I didn’t.” My husband said “Yes, you did. I was right there.” So, he aplogized to my son and it hasn’t happened since, but he did poke him in the ribs with a small, wooden baseball bat and made my son cry. One of my biggest fears about divorcing my husband is that my kids will be around brother in law with no one to protect them. My husband won’t do it unless he’s absolutely forced to. As much as I see my husband as abusive, his brother is way worse and an abuser to my husband (as well as everyone else in his life). The incidents with brother in law are numerous. I believe he’s a narcissist. We have disliked each other for years and I know, without a doubt, that when my kids are older, if I give him enough access to them, he will try to turn them against me. He is a horrible man.

      • JM, your brother-in-law sounds like a very covertly aggressive personality, and I see elements of sadism there too. Why else is he picking on such a young and defenceless child, other than to enjoy the fact that he is causing fear and pain to that child?

        Georg Simon says that aggressive personalities share some traits in common with narcissistic personalities but there are differences too. See pages 102 and 106 of Character Disturbance [*Affiliate link].

        *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
      • Just Me

        Thank you, Barbara. I’m adding that book to my list. It sounds like one I can definitely learn from.

      • Kathy seldon

        Just Me, I’ve contemplated this alot. You know, I’ve been out in the rain hundreds of times, I’ve had thousands of raindrops fall on me, and I can confidently tell you that a drop of water does not hurt, and is not particularly damaging. But if one were to strap a person down and repeatedly drip water on his forehead he would break down emotionally and mentally. The Chinese water torture was just that, torture. And all from smile little drops of water. If every time a dog tries to get a drink of water he gets a painless but startling shock he will eventually be terrified of that water bowl. But the shocks didn’t really hurt, so something must be wrong with dog right? Both of those acts are evil, and so is taking pleasure in messing with the mind of a little child.
        I’ve mentioned that my husband liked to pick on me, that was an understatement. Sometimes it seemed that was his only form of “affection” I could be tickled or ignored. He would poke me in the ribs whenever he felt like it, not enough to hurt, just enough jolt me. Then it got where he did it more and more. I didn’t get hugs from him, or snuggle on the couch without being poked at lest once. It seemed like just when I decided it was okay and I relaxed into him that’s when he’d poke me. I was constantly on edge. Id complain to him and he didn’t get it, so he didn’t care. He’d be tickling me and I’d beg him to stop and he’d say I was laughing so I must be enjoying it. I don’t want to minimize the trauma for anyone who has been sexually assaulted before when I say this, but when he tickled me or poked me, I felt like I had been raped. Outside of these communities where abuse is understood I’ve been hard pressed to explain my case. It’s water torture and as far as they see it, water doesn’t hurt, so what’s the big deal. The big deal is that I almost went crazy and I had no idea why. I had no big terrible acts to point to and say “that’s why I’m miserable”. Until today I’ve felt like I needed people to get it, so I wouldn’t feel so conflicted. But they may never get it, and that’s okay. I can’t go back to being steadily dripped back into hell.
        Part of the reason I put up with the poking was because I didn’t believe I was allowed to hate it, it was just horsing around and I was being too sensitive. I’ve already started teaching my three year old that I don’t care what society says, if the other person doesn’t think it’s funny it’s NOT FUNNY. And if he doesn’t like something that’s being done to him, then it should stop, if he doesn’t think it’s funny, it’s NOT FUNNY.

        All of that to say, you totally justified your righteous anger about your son’s treatment. It is damaging, it’s not okay. And this country needs to stop thinking ravaging another’s soul is innocent humor.

      • I can’t go back to being steadily dripped back into hell.

        Amen to that!

        Your ex had ‘abuse disguised as a joke’ down to a fine art.
        sorry. not art. torture.

  11. Katy

    this is the exact attitude of most of the women in my homeschool group

    this is why I give those groups in church a wide berth. I have a couple of very good friends that I grew up with who are now hardcore into the homeschooling/patriarchy stuff. The problem is that a lot of those women are not in abusive marriages (of the sort that we survived, I mean). They can’t allow the scaffolding of their entire world view to be threatened. So they cocoon themselves in insular groups, like little drones, pumping out babies and thinking they’ve got the whole world figured out. They are like any other cult really.

    • Jodi

      For my group, the sad part is, some of those women are married to- if not abusive men, at least uninvolved and/or chauvinistic men. It truly is a cult tho-right down to the attitude that even if your husband asks you to do something wrong, you should do it, because he will be held responsible, not you. When I tried to point out the flaws in that reasoning, you can imagine the gasps.Seems like everytime I said anything, that is all I heard-so eventually I stopped talking, and then just stopped going altogether.

  12. Katy

    For my group, the sad part is, some of those women are married to- if not abusive men, at least uninvolved and/or chauvinistic men
    oh yeah! don’t get me wrong – those guys all wear their authority in a creepy way in my experience. My friend in the movement has a “nice” husband – meaning he’s not beating her or abusing her in that overt way. Which means she’s got plenty of energy to study up on how to be a perfect helpmeet. 😉

  13. KayE

    That is such a good article. It might help explain why my ex speaks to the dog with so much more respect in his voice than when he speaks to me.

    • It’s awfully wicked when a man treats his dog better than his wife. It makes me think about how men can see their dogs as their buddies, friends and allies . . . which is fine on its own, but if a man is making a point of treating his wife worse than his dog, he is intentionally telling her that he thinks she is lower than a dog, and of less value to him. That is devilish, no doubt about it. And the abuser would probably be inwardly crowing about how he’s managed to covertly convey his opinion to his wife, so if she ever dared to complain about it, he could plausibly deny it.
      The evil of such abusers is almost unfathomable: I know when I try to mentally imagine the depths of an abuser’s heart and mind, I can’t do it. It’s not possible to put myself into the recesses of their blackness, my mind reels at the attempt.

      • KayE

        The question that really disturbs me is this -are those attitudes innate to my ex or have they been well taught to him by his family, his friends and his church leaders? Because when he was not spending so much time with those people he was a nicer person.Those people are all very proud and self-righteous.They consider themselves very fine Christians. If they were real Christians they would hold him to account and give him at least a chance of coming to repentance. But they are actively encouraging him in his delusion and in his beliefs of justification. I think that what they are doing is the most evil thing of all.

      • That’s a legitimate question to ask, given what you have observed, KayE. It’s the old nature / nurture debate, and as George Simon says in his book Character Disturbance [*Affiliate link], it is not usually one or the other, but an admixture of both. In your ex’s case, it might be that those attitudes are to some degree his core personality but are to some degree intensified when he is mixing with certain people. If a person’s evildoing is encouraged or enabled and never penalised, then the evil, like all weeds, will become even more feral.
        Nice to hear from you again, Kaye. Hope you are okay.

        *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
  14. KayE

    I’m reasonably okay, considering all that time I’ve been treated worse than the dog 🙂

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