A Cry For Justice

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

Is it Wrong to “Just Believe” Abuse Victims?

One of the best and very first things we can do to help a victim of abuse is to believe them when they come to us and ask for help. And yet with some frequency we see criticism of this point coming our way. “Oh, sure, believe her? How do you know that she isn’t just making the whole thing up, falsely accusing the alleged abuser? The Bible says we need two or three witnesses, doesn’t it? And what about Proverbs:

(Pro 18:17) The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

So let’s spend a bit of time answering these critics.

First, consider what Proverbs says, and do so in light of what we know about the mentality, nature and tactics of the abuser. We know that this saying is true – it is the Word of God. We also know, if we have educated ourselves about the dynamics of abuse, its facades and deception, that the one who states his case first, and seems right, is the abuser!  Not the victim!  Victims don’t readily speak up, but their abusers are quite active regularly working their deceptions. They work to gain allies. They work to blame the victim. Victims are in such a fog of confusion by all of this evil business that they don’t speak up and when they finally do, they are still not completely clear on what is happening to them. Yes, the one who states his case first seems right. But then comes the victim and we are supposed to have an “Aha!” moment when she does. Usually we don’t.

Next, let’s consider the charge that if we “just believe” a person who is reporting abuse then we are going to be duped, with some frequency, by false claims. To say that we should believe a person who alleges abuse is to play right into the hands of man-hating feminists or radical social-reconstructionists who hate marriage and the family. Here comes this wife who is rebelling against her head, so she is making all of these false allegations, you see. That is how the criticisms go.

Well, first of all these objections once again show a real lack of knowledge about the nature and tactics of abusers and of the effects of abuse on victims, especially upon victims who are Christians. What do we know about genuine abuse victims in the church? We know that they do not readily come forward. And this for many reasons, 1) They are confused by the crazy-making deception of abuse, 2) They still love their abuser and fear they may be exaggerating the situation, 3) They fear displeasing the Lord by not being a good, submissive wife, or a good self-sacrificing husband, and 4) They are ashamed. There are probably other reasons as well, such as just plain fear. Fear of being judged. Fear of the rage of the abuser if he finds out. Fear of “how are me and my children going to pay the bills?” So when a person, man or woman, comes forward with an allegation of abuse, it is simply not very common at all for them to be lying and simply trying to get revenge or to find some easy way out of a marriage they just don’t want to be in. There are easier ways to pull those kinds of motives off.

Think about it. Is the REAL problem in society at large and in our churches that false victims are coming forward and making false accusations against their spouse? Is that the elephant in the room that we are dealing with? Of course not. Be the abuse sexual molestation or domestic violence abuse, the real problem is that victims and witnesses don’t come forward, generally for a long time. And when they do, the abuse they have endured is minimized, discounted, and disbelieved. They suffer additional abuse at the hands of those they have turned to for help.  THAT is the norm. You can’t argue with that.

Next, consider the Word of God and what the Lord has to say about how His people are to respond to the oppressed, weak, and needy:

(Exo 22:22-24) You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.

Deu 24:17 “You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge,

Jer 5:28 they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.

Psa 82:2-5 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah (3) Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. (4) Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (5) They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

Anyone who knows even an inkling about Scripture is aware that we could go on and on quoting such passages. The frequency of these very clear and sobering warnings is that we have a tendency to not listen to the case of the downtrodden. To discount the suffering of the oppressed. To dismiss them, tell them to go in peace and “be warmed” while doing nothing really to help them. This is what God’s Word warns us about. Are there Scriptures that deal with false allegations? Yes. But clearly the main thrust of Scripture in this area is NOT to restrain some excessive thirst for righteousness and justice, but quite the opposite.

Finally, there is this matter of the Scriptural laws of evidence. In a courtroom proceeding, evidence must meet certain standards before it can be introduced into the trial. Physical evidence must be supported with an unbroken “chain of evidence.” Hearsay is generally excluded. And so it is in the Word of God. God’s standards are “two or three witnesses.” We see this in both Old and New Testaments and it is the basis even for church discipline (see Matthew 18:19-20, an oft-misapplied passage).

This divine rule of evidence is not limited to two or three eyewitnesses! We have seen this thing grossly misused by church leaders before. An allegation of sexual abuse, for example, is brought up and it is dismissed because “there is only the one victim’s testimony and you have to have two or three.” All other forms of evidence are dismissed. How many criminals would go free if the law required two or three eyewitnesses to convict!

So let me suggest other kinds of evidence that can “testify” in these cases:

  • Financial records. Abusers often use money to virtually imprison their victims.
  • Visible (to the trained eye) effects of abuse in the victim. These are by no means limited to physical injuries. Is the victim reluctant to talk about the abuse? Does she seem confused about what is happening to her? Is she fearful? Does she bear a load of false guilt and self-blame?
  • Does the accused abuser evidence qualities consistent with the abuser persona? While he may hide behind a facade of saintly religion, there are always telltale signs. Study the qualities common to the sociopath/psychopath/narcissist and you will begin to understand what qualities we are talking about. (See our post on The Language of Abusers Who Portray Themselves as Victims and All of our Posts that discuss Language of Abusers).

Make no mistake, these things are admissible evidence!

Have we ever come across false victims? Yes. How often? Not very. In the last two years, for example, interacting with victims through this blog and other venues, I have personally only heard from three who I believe were not truly victims of abuse. And I recognized them as such. Not because I was so profoundly wise, but because I have studied abuse and spoken now with scores of victims – and some of their abusers. Frankly, I have simply not found it that difficult to hear that “ring of truth” that comes with a genuine victim.

So, to those critics who claim that we are being gullible and dealing probable injustice to falsely accused spouses, we say – set yourself to the study of abuse. Start reading. Learn about its mindset and motives and nature and tactics. Learn about the effects it has on victims. Admit that you don’t know, and start listening to people who do. After honestly and diligently educating yourself in this way, if you still think it is a great error to “just believe” victims, please let us know.

41 Comments

  1. This is absolute GOLD Jeff. There is no excuse not to educate yourself on the evil of abuse. If you continue to dwell in ignorance and deal out injustice to victims in your role as a counselor or church leader, even after you have been made aware of this problem, then you are seeking wrath on your own head.
    Certain “leaders” that recently squashed a huge mess of sexual abuse within its churches comes to mind….
    that passage from Exodus – “I will kill you with the sword” – do you think that promise still applies today, or was it just under Old Testament covenant? We see lots of men dealing out evil injustice to victims and not a lot of them are being struck dead.

    • Can you give the exact chapter and verse for that Exodus reference, Katy?

      • I’m talking about the one Jeff quoted in the article above ?

  2. Wendell G

    I know that when I confronted my former son-in-law with some of the incidents my daughter told me about, he did not deny them, but tried to place blame on her (typical tactic). That, in itself, is a confession of the abuse and preempts the “requirement” for 2 or 3 witnesses. Looking back on it all, I can see the signs that were plainly before my face, but I did not know enough to recognize them at the time.

  3. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog and commented:
    What would you think of someone who didn’t believe you? When ‘Christians’ question the stories of abuse victims, it is often a copout. It gives them an easy out to do nothing.

    • imsetfree

      And it hurts so much, doesn’t it? When churches don’t believe. Just makes one feel helpless all over again

  4. Anonymous

    Thank you for this post. I am still very hurt by the fact that the last “c”hurch listened to my children tell their stories of abuse, along with my story, and made a determination not to believe any of us, but rather the one who was abusing. They did not follow Scripture in their decision making, but rather further injured our home by following their own ways, instead of God’s. After injuring us as much as they possibly could, they then posted an article they had written, about how women abuse just as men do and how to find a woman abuser out, etc., in an attempt to bring further humiliation on me and point the finger at me, for creating such a ruckus by coming to them for help. I had not told one other person in our “c”hurch about the abuse, until the pastor began telling others, and then I only told one person. I did not even tell my best friend, until after the charges had been brought against me. I guess they needed to cover their huge lies and mistakes, so they posted their article as well.

    Also, I think that by the time victims come forward, the abuse may have gone on for so long, that the victim is now so confused and/or angry or just wanting someone to help them out of the situation, or at least protect them in it, and gets backed into a corner instead, by pastors/elders who deny them this protection and care. The victim’s reaction to being re-victimized may just be too much for them and they react in a way that makes others question why they are so upset. It is really hard to have lived in so much abuse for so many years, come to the point of recognizing what is happening, go for help and then have the ones you went to get help from, want to start back at the beginning and act like the abuse has only been going on since the time you came to them for help. I believe that people who are not educated in abuse, nor willing to educate themselves about it, should not even offer counsel to a victim of abuse, but send them on their way to get help from someone who can actually help them, someone who has taken the time to educate themselves or is licensed in dealing with domestic abuse.

    Thank you for believing me, Ps. Crippen and Barb. Thank you for educating yourselves in this area. You have helped so many of us, who had no where else to turn. Your efforts have reached across this country and back again, as well as other countries, and have aided numerous people in their efforts to be free from abuse and to be able to serve Christ freely. May God bless you abundantly for all you have done. Great post!

    • Still Scared( but getting angry)

      The victim’s reaction to being re-victimized may just be too much for them and they react in a way that makes others question why they are so upset. It is really hard to have lived in so much abuse for so many years, come to the point of recognizing what is happening, go for help and then have the ones you went to get help from, want to start back at the beginning and act like the abuse has only been going on since the time you came to them for help.

      I think this is so true!! Two of the pastors and two of the counselors that helped right after really thought it had only been going on for a short time, maybe a year before I realized and had a name to describe it. They honestly could not wrap their heads around the fact that it had been going on for 17 years.

    • imsetfree

      Yes! Yes! And yes! My behaviour became so erratic once I started facing the possibility that I’d been abused. I did some crazy things. Clinging onto people then pushing them away. Trying to deny the allegations I’d made to “test” people, meltdowns, tantrums, suicidal gestures. Some people just withdrew. One told me to stop talking about the abuse. Others yelled at me. Even in church. Or told me I just needed to submit to authority. I think they didn’t know what they were dealing with

  5. Martin

    Jeff. This is dynamite stuff! Thanks!

  6. not-too-late

    Ditto to everything above! Besides, the statistical evidence is clear that most allegations are found to be true. The rate of false allegations is nowhere near what people make it out to be. I think the range of false allegations of abuse in all the studies I have looked at falls between 1% and 5%, and this figure comes from studies conducted over the years in different countries. False denials are more common.

  7. Have we ever come across false victims? Yes. How often? Not very. In the last two years, for example, interacting with victims through this blog and other venues, I have personally only heard from three who I believe were not truly victims of abuse. And I recognized them as such. Not because I was so profoundly wise, but because I have studied abuse and spoken now with scores of victims – and some of their abusers. Frankly, I have simply not found it that difficult to hear that “ring of truth” that comes with a genuine victim.

    I will add my own experience to what Jeff said here.
    In all the years I’ve been a volunteer advocate and supporter of other Christian victims of abuse, and have been reading both secular and Christian research and literature on this topic, I would say that I have only heard about or encountered a tiny number of female false victims. (By false victims I mean people who claim to be victims of domestic abuse but who are not.) The two false-victim women I met personally were eventually revealed to be pathological liars; each had left a long and wide trail of manipulation and deceit and ‘using’ other people financially, emotionally, systemically. And in each case God revealed the true picture by bringing people into my life who reported that had known that woman in her ‘former incarnation’ when she was ripping off another swag of people in another church / town / area of the State. And in each of those cases, the woman concerned did not show all the marks of a true victim, but instead showed a streak of excessively dramatic attention-seeking and covert control to make others dance around and prop her up all the time.

    On the other hand, I have encountered and heard about many males who claim to be victims of abuse but who show the tell-tale marks of being perpetrators of abuse. So yes, there are false victims, but my advice is to be wary of thinking a woman is a false victim, and be alert to the possibility that a man may be presenting falsely as a victim.

    From time to time we get comments or emails submitted to us which show tell-tale signs that they have been written by abusers. We know for a fact that the ex-husbands of at least three of the readers of this blog have contacted us or submitted comments to this blog. We detect the marks of abuserese and we don’t publish the comments. And we tip off the woman that her ex-husband has contacted the blog.

    Oh, and by the way, we have never had a comment or an email from a woman who claims to be a victim where we eventually discover (by reliable third party testimony) that the woman actually exercised power and control in the marriage and abused her husband. The cases we’ve encountered of female phoney victims involve women who claim to be victims in order to milk money and assistance from bystanders (especially compassionate Christian bystanders). But in my experience I have never found those false-claimant women to have actually perpetrated abuse against their former husbands. Now, this is only my experience, it’s not academic research, but it suggests to me that women who falsely claim to be victims of domestic abuse are not perpetrators of domestic abuse (as is the case with many males who claim to be victims), rather, these women are just out to milk compassionate people and welfare services for money and assistance, so they can go on living off the generosity of others.

    • Yes that’s been my experience too
      As Jeff says — it’s really not that hard to tell the true victims from the liars, once you’ve got half a clue and a smidge of discernment. /sarc 😛

    • Anonymous

      So what would you say to “counselors” who say they cannot believe the woman unless they have actual statistics that prove what is being said here, regarding females who claim to have been or are being abused and their abusers deny it? In other words, they cannot believe that a woman has been abused, just because she says so, if the abuser denies he has abused. Also, what would you say to those same type of “self-proclaimed counselors”, who say that unless the female victim is willing to admit to her sin in the marriage, even if that sin has nothing to do with the abuse, there is no hope for the marriage. I think the goal of these “counselors”, is to get the woman to admit that she is a sinner too, so that his abuse does not look so bad anymore! I think we should fight for some type of law that prohibits anyone (including pastors/elders/wives) who does not have adequate education in abuse and how to counsel victims, from counseling the victims of abuse. I was really grateful, when a pastor’s wife that I know, said that she and her husband could in no way give me any type of counsel, with abuse being involved, because they had no idea how to counsel me regarding abuse and said that I needed to find a counselor who specialized in abuse. Oh, and don’t forget the pastors and counselors that have probably contacted the blog regarding some of their parishioners. I am sure you must have had a few of those as well.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Anon- what would I say? I would say “you’re fired! Good-bye!”

      • “You’ve got to admit you’re a sinner too” is what I call sin-levelling. Abusers LOVE it when pastors say that, as it gets them off the hook by defining the problem not as abuse but as a relationship problem.

      • Annie

        If I could be bothered, I would arm myself all the information and studies that I can get a hold of, then shove it to them and take my stand as the “expert”. I would make it clear that their position is not the benchmark in social work and therefore they are insufficient for the task. If they bring out the Christian vs secular card, I would point them to Christian experts, like Ps Crippen, Barbara Roberts, Rev Steven Tracy, Dr George Simon Jr, etc and there are many others. THEY should do the hard work of sorting out their confusion and not let their ignorance harm victims they are supposed to help.

    • Memphis Rayne

      People that dont want to get their hands dirty (pastors) ignore the OVERWHELMING evidence before them and pull out from their rear ends some random statistic, on some rare random account of a female lying to extract money, or her “husbands” money…or they will cling in their minds some random headline of a woman who has performed some hainus crime against her own children….that then, THAT random, distant headline becomes their reality to justify the abuse in front of them…So they can sleep at night knowing the ongoing, daily masacre of women and children sitting right before them is all justified. Also if the abuser can cast ANY doubt about the motives of his victom (no matter how absurd) that seems to be all it takes to crucify her publicly, and let the abuser claim victory. The obvious get shoved aside….the focus becomes finding fault in both partys no matter what the abuser is doing.

      • Memphis Rayne

        …except when they discuss the fault of the abusing party, generally they apply a “reason” as to why he has behaved that way….and the reason is usually dependant on something the victom did or did not do….Its like a patronizing little game they play, behind close doors the discussion is more along the lines of “How do we quiet the victom down”

  8. Mary Lloyd

    In my case I have met quite a few who refused to accept that what is happening to me is abuse. It has happened in church and in my family, and of course the abuser does the same thing on a regular basis, denying there is anything wrong. It is exhausting when you are not heard: you feel you have to relive all the details in order to get them to believe you, when really, what they are doing is heaping more abuse on you by effectively calling you a liar.That is one problem.
    But I think it took me many years before I could attach the label “abuse” to what has been happening to me. I know why that is to some extent, and it isn’t because I made anything up: it is because I have been effectively manipulated by charming words and seeming repentance, the “appearance” of having turned over a new leaf. It has taken me so long to learn not to fall for it, I suppose I can’t blame others if they think I am making it up. What they see is the abuser’s charm, and they can’t cope with the reality that I report: they assume it is exaggerated by my state of mind.
    How very convenient for the abuser.
    But I do have another experience I need to tell. I was helping a woman who had come to me with complaints of physical abuse by her husband, and who was tricked into travelling with a so-called friend, who then dumped her on the street with a bag of her belongings, and disappeared. When she tried to get access to the house again, the husband had changed the locks, and she was out on the street. There followed months of mobilising resources to get her help, during which she also ended up in the local mental hospital. Finally she was housed again, and things seemed to be looking up for her. Unfortunately she was on Prozac, and was getting ill, lost a lot of weight, hair falling out, suicidal thoughts. Once she stopped taking it, she recovered. There was a whole catalogue of disaster that she seemed to attract wherever she went. Another lady who lived near her was working with me to help her. She witnessed further abuses to this woman at the hands of the social services, and we had to begin a complaint also against the police, who had failed to log any of her complaints of physical abuse. Between us we managed to get help and acceptance in high places that there were serious issues needing to be addressed in the authorities. We were ready to go, had assembled written reports and documentation to support what we had seen and heard that had been done to this woman seemingly by everyone she came in contact with.
    Then she met a man and fell in love. She promptly turned her back on us and suddenly refused to pursue any of the complaints that we had worked on with her and for her. She just dropped everything, us included, and ran after this man.
    In the pause that followed, I was able to have long conversations with the lady who was helping me. We were obviously somewhat annoyed that we were cast away like this, having put a lot of time and effort into helping the woman get justice. But some inconsistencies began to arise as we spoke, some things that didn’t quite ring true.
    There had been an incident when I was telephoned at 3 am on Christmas day. I had been deeply asleep but got across the room with heart pounding, to answer the call. I heard the lady say “Mary I am outside my house waiting for the police, there is blood on me”. In my mind I saw the woman had bean beaten up, possibly raped, was standing in the cold in the middle of the night waiting for police help. The reality was not this, I discovered. She had attacked her husband in fact, and the blood was his, where she scratched him with her fingernails. It was what she left out of the scene she described that made me think the absolute worst had happened. We started to wonder if we were being very cleverly played, but we had, so we thought, witnessed enough evidence of abuse against this woman to justify pursuing the formal complaints.
    The man who she fell in love with turned out to be another abuser, by and by.
    I am still trying to figure out really what happened here altogether. I am certain I was right to believe her and to jump right in and help where I could. But I think also that my perceptions of what is true have been messed with, because of the lies I have been told long term in my marriage. Abuse seems to give rise to more abuse. When you have already believed lies as truth, that would make you vulnerable in this way.
    I haven’t heard from the lady for a few years. I have thought about what might be really wrong there but it is out of my sphere of help, whatever it is, and I haven’t got the energy to do it all again. I have enough of my own mess here to deal with!
    Thanks for listening, it helps.

    • Wow Mary, what a story! I agree with your conclusion that whatever is going on with woman is out of your sphere of help. That is the conclusion I had to come to with one woman I knew years ago. I believe this woman was a victim of domestic abuse, but she also had a number of other serious problems that were beyond my ability to help, largely because she herself did not want to face them and deal with them. That was the conclusion I drew in the end, after pouring myself out trying to help her. It was a lesson well learned, for me, and has stood me in good stead in terms of making me more astute about how much I do for other people.

    • Anonymous

      I think too Barb, that people who have been eternal victims of abuse in their lives, often do have other problems that have evolved from living like that and unless they have the strength and desire to actually go through the work of fixing and healing those things, sadly, they will remain broken and running from place to place. Without Christ, it is all impossible, but with Him, everything is possible. Such a sad story.

  9. As I’ve been following the SGM trial and evangelical responses, I think one of the contributing factors to not believing the victim comes from an extreme view of “innocent until proven guilty”. Now it’s a good foundation for government rule, but it is by no means a moral universal idea that must always be obeyed. We’ve allowed the state to rule our ideas of justice, I’m afraid.

    I say this because of the large number of evangicles who refuse to speak until the courts have spoken in an effort not to “rush to judgement” (even though these same folks are quick to speak when the accused are outside of the church). But when they know the accused, the default is to appeal to the secular courts and allow everyone for their day in court before taking any action.

    There is nothing in scripture that would tell us to behave this way, though. This is not to say that the courts are not an agent of justice or we don’t respect the work they do, but when we find ourselves waiting on a secular system before we are taking a supportive action for professing victims, that is a big problem.

    It is true that a charge of abuse can bring someone down and tear down a ministry. But we cannot let that fear drive is to passivity. Passivity is the answer of the world to the Gosepl and they stand condemned for it. How are we being salt and light by mirroring the same passivity in the church?

    Domestics abuse situations are not different – we cannot take a passive or “innocent until proven guilty” stance. We also must not take uninformed actions. We must be prepared to stand up for victims of abuse and equip ourselves to do so. Anything less than that is to take the same view as those who stay out of church figuring it will all get sorted out in the end. Agnosticism is not acceptable to God, whether in maters of belief or matters of dealing with victims of oppression.

    • Jeff Crippen

      JeffS – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that when a church leader in particular is charged with the things that Mahaney is (covering up sexual abuse, among other things) in this civil case, by multiple witnesses/complainants, that said church leader no longer meets the biblical qualification of being “above reproach.” Note that in fact this is the very first requirement Paul lists for an elder:

      “1Ti 3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 1Ti 3:2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

      It does not take waiting for a civil court to rule before making this determination. Why is it then that Mahaney is still invited to speak at large conferences, etc? It is only because there is money, influence, and power backing him. If even half of the allegations set forth in this civil case against Mahaney and company were leveled against me as a pastor, I would have been history long ago.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, maybe so, Ps. Crippen — but you would have been history, because of your own admission to the sin and neglect, once confronted with it! That’s what blows me away. This is just more of keeping the leaders on their thrones and tossing the victims to the dogs. Not Christ, no not at all. So why are we Christians so blinded by this “fame” of leaders, that we cannot say, you are false and we have had enough of you — and give them the boot in the name of Christ! I mean, even the world looks at this and says, “They are all nuts!”, because even they know (because of the revelation of God through His creation) that this stuff is just plain wrong, and all they see are those false leaders and the Christian community that sits by and idly watches it all take place, saying, “we don’t want to rush to judgment”.

  10. Anon

    Jeff: “Have we ever come across false victims? Yes. How often? Not very. In the last two years, for example, interacting with victims through this blog and other venues, I have personally only heard from three who I believe were not truly victims of abuse. And I recognized them as such. Not because I was so profoundly wise, but because I have studied abuse and spoken now with scores of victims – and some of their abusers. Frankly, I have simply not found it that difficult to hear that “ring of truth” that comes with a genuine victim.”

    That says it all. Yet, in spite of this post, those who took that position (e.g. in the Amazon critiques) will probably STILL hold on to the view that you cannot just believe an abuse victim, and you cannot take the perpetrator’s words with a pinch of salt. These people make the basic error of not recognizing that disturbed characters are not like neurotic characters. Not everyone is the same, and not every couple must be treated like the individuals there are equal. In a marriage where there is domestic abuse, they don’t have similar character traits and should not be approached like they do. If a woman is claiming to be abused, then given the very low rate of false allegations, one can determine whether the claimant is really a victim simply listening and knowing what to look out for.

    Case closed. Why on earth do people hold on to irrational, unsupportable positions?

  11. Will

    Thank you so much for the work you all are doing. My wife and I found you just when we needed this kind of input, trying to decide how to help a friend in an abusive marriage.

  12. A friend

    These blogs are right on! I am fairly new to this site and thankfully my friend found it and it has been a help to her in these dark days. I have learned first hand what an evil man is like because my friend is married to one. It took us a lot of years to discover this because it has been a lonely path indeed. She is your typical victim of abuse–no self worth, confused beyond belief, swimming in false guilt, carries all the blame, oh the insecurities, no trust in her own judgments, and sadly this list could go on and on. After we became friends she learned she could trust me. It was very slow but little by little the trust grew. She began to open up and talk. She was confused by it all and didn’t even see how off things were.

    Her husband is a master manipulator and piles all the blame on her even though she was the scared, timid, spineless, needy wife who tried desperately to make him happy. After I explained how messed up the situation was (he is exactly like the article Wanted Fantasy Wife) I encouraged her to get help from our pastor. That is when we learned that even a well meaning, solid preaching, wise pastor could lack understanding in this area. All of these trials drove us to God for answers.

    It is sad to know how much help just an acknowledgement of the situation could have been. It would have alleviated A LOT of confusion. We can now relate to those in the Bible who were so misunderstood: Joseph, Job, Mary the mother of Jesus, and of course our Savior Jesus was gravely misunderstood even by his own brethren–so we find ourselves in good company. There is a balance in everything and you can hate divorce (like we should) and still help those who are entangled in a marriage with an evil man.

    The counseling she received was so shallow with a lack of understanding and discernment. Vain is the help of man when they are leaning upon their own understanding (yes even good, fundamental, Bible believing, conservative preachers)! Thank you for being a voice to these misunderstood women who often can’t speak up for themselves. Satan attacks the feeble mind and it is a very sad thing to see how he uses well meaning pastors to help in his evil deeds. More and more the lies are being exposed and the truth is shining forth. Only God can deliver my friend from the horrible prison she is in. Divorce is no option as the situation is too dangerous but just as God delivered Joseph we know that God will deliver in His time. Thanks for being a voice for those who so often cannot speak for themselves!

    • Thanks, A Friend. You do sound like your a great support for your friend — well done!

      Re the God hates divorce thing, I prefer to say it like this: God hates treacherous divorce, but He does not hate disciplinary divorce — divorce taken out because abuse, adultery or desertion. That is one of the key points in my book. Bless you.

      And while I understand that the prospect of divorce might be scary, and we don’t tell any victim what to do in her own situation, I would like to encourage you (and her) to remain open to that option. Maybe God will work things so that what seemed like impossible venture become possible later on. And whatever she decides, I hope she realises that divorce on grounds of abuse does not displease God and is not a sin on the divorcing victim’s part.

      • A friend

        Though it may have sounded like I was completely against divorce that is not so. I definitely believe there are solid grounds for divorce. There has been much prayer poured over this situation and our eyes have been opened to how dangerous this evil man is. Divorce at this time in this situation is not an option. Just in this past year much confusion has turned into clarity while in this situation so I know much good has come from remaining in this pit. We don’t know how deliverance will come but believing that The Lord will continue to be her Guide on these treacherous roads. We look to Him daily. Fight on down trodden women and don’t despair even if your still in bondage! And fight on Cry For Justice in helping the truth about these issues be brought into the light.

      • We don’t know how deliverance will come but believing that The Lord will continue to be her Guide on these treacherous roads.

        Amen!

    • Hi Friend,

      I too am a friend of a (now former) victim. She was able to leave though it was no easy task to do so. But I too learned what an abusive marriage and man looks like from observing hers. The deception is incredible.

      What I found interesting for myself was how I never went looking for the things I saw. They were shoved in front of me whether I wanted to see them or not, and that by the abuser himself. I didn’t learn my friend was married to an abuser from her. I learned it from him! Her testimony only backed his up. Not that that was how he wanted to be seen, of course.

      But I am convinced it was the Lord who insisted I see this. I believe it was with a view to me helping her. It sounds like you are in a similar place.

      I will pray for your friend and for you too.

      • I am convinced it was the Lord who insisted I see this. I believe it was with a view to me helping her.
        Yes, and also with a view to you becoming a strong supporter of A Cry For Justice and all the victims and friends who visit here. 🙂

  13. Seeking Help

    I need help. My husband plays victim but he is an abuser. We are a blended family. My son and I came from another country. My husband is mean to my biological son too. He put the children against me (their ages are early adult and teens) . They started to abuse me too. They all hate me since I called the police for domestic violence more than a year ago. Before that they used to call me mom, except one girl. He says he does not remember hurting me. My husband is so charming to everybody else that most of the people believes him, including the chuch. People think he is a very godly man. Please pray for us.
    Do you know a pofesional counselor who will be able to identify the truth so we can get the help we need?
    Thank you

    • Jeff Crippen

      Seeking Help- I do not know of a counselor in your area. I would recommend that you go to the women’s resource/crisis center in your area and seek help from them. Counseling to “fix” the marriage is not primarily what you need. And unfortunately your experience with people in your church believing the abuser is all too typical, so help is not to be found there either.

    • Hi dear sister
      Welcome to the blog. 🙂 In order to guard your safety I changed your sreen name to “Seeking Help” and I edited and airbrushed some of the details of your comment.

      I strongly advise you to read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      I concur with all the Jeff said to you. Here is a post about Why couple counseling is not recommended in domestic abuse. And here is another one: Calling Evil Good: The Error of Couple Counseling for Abuse

  14. imsetfree

    How do you cope when churches constantly treat you like a false victim? I have had this happen a few times now and I really don’t understand what it is about my story that comes off as false? Maybe I just don’t express myself in words very well? One church told me that If a husband or father is provoked by his wife or daughter then it is understandable that he lash out at her sometimes. He said in that case he didn’t think it was wrong? Another person toldme I obviously wasn’t expressing my story right or truthfully if someone as articulate as me wasn’t believed?

    • There may be nothing at all wrong with the way you tell your story, but a whole lot wrong with those churches who disbelieve you, misjudge you, and make excuses for the abusers.

      Churches very often are getting it wrong when it comes to abuse. That is one of the reasons why we have this blog: to try to educate the churches. Sadly, many of them don’t seem to want to be educated. There comes a point where this can be described as willful blindness and wickedness on their part.

      May God bring about a revolution in how the church addresses abuse! The abusers have been enabled and empowered by ‘c’hurches for far too long!

Trackbacks

  1. Three Nasty Things (some) Women are Saying About Naghmeh | Visionary Womanhood

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