Barbara Roberts — leader
I believe in the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. I was born again in my early 20s but didn’t get to church for 13 years. During those years in the wilderness (you can read more about them here) I married an unbelieving man and we had a daughter. After five years I left because of my husband’s abuse.
In my country (Australia) the court can finalise child custody and division of joint assets and finances after marital separation, even though neither spouse has applied for divorce — so that’s what I did. In the lead-up to the court battle for who would get custody of our daughter, I started attending an evangelical church. The court eventually granted me custody of our daughter and my husband was allowed fortnightly weekend access to her.
I told my story to a female assistant pastor. I asked her if I had grounds for divorce. She said I had to stick to the marriage vows I’d made, regardless of what my husband had done. I bought books on divorce by Christian authors. The books said divorce was a sin and even if adultery or “desertion by an unbeliever” were grounds for divorce, abuse was not. I didn’t want to sin, so I did not apply for a divorce.
After four years of marital separation, my estranged husband appeared to become a Christian. So in 1998 I reconciled with him and chose to live with him again. One year later I had to separate from him again, because I realised that he was still employing and escalating his abusive behaviours and I was very afraid for my safety.
I know what it’s like to fight for your child in the family court, to endure post-separation abuse (especially during visitation handover) and to have to seek protection orders and report family violence crimes to the police. I know what it’s like to be in fear of your life because your abuser is unpredictable and even if your abuser has not used lethal force before, that is no guarantee the abuser will not use lethal force to kill you or permanently main or disable you.
I started supporting other victims-survivors. I wrote and published Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion [Affiliate link]. Read reviews at my website Not Under Bondage.
When I was in my fifties (~ 2011) I married another man who I believed was a Christian….but I was mistaken. The first year was good but he started abusing me in the second year of the marriage. So I had to go through the whole separation and divorce process again. It was easier the second time because I had not borne a child to him.
In late 2011, Ps Jeff Crippen contacted me to ask permission to reprint something from my book Not Under Bondage. That led to me becoming a team member at this A Cry For Justice website in 2012. I have been the sole leader of the A Cry For Justice website since Jeff Crippen resigned in 2017. More biographical info about me can be found in Angela Ruth Strong’s interview of Barbara Roberts. My favourite English version of the New Testament is the New Matthew Bible.
I contributed the chapter Pastoral Responses to Christian Survivors of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence to the book Intimate Partner Sexual Violence: A Multidisciplinary Guide to Improving Services and Support for Survivors of Rape and Abuse [Affiliate link].
Reaching Out — assistant
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Reaching Out is a survivor of multiple forms of abuse, from multiple abusers, and in multiple environments. She is passionate about assisting in advocacy for the abused, working behind the scenes for her safety and protection. She is a Christian using her experience to assist others on their journey.
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