A Cry For Justice

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

About us

The ACFJ team is two people: Barbara Roberts and Reaching Out.

Barbara Roberts — leader

email:   barbara@notunderbondage.com

I believe absolutely in the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. I hold to the five solas of the Reformation.

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. But one year later I had to separate from him again, because I realised that he was still employing and escalating his abusive behaviors 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 victim-survivors. And I wrote and published Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion [*affiliate link]. And I started a website notunderbondage.com.

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 love writing and supporting survivors of abuse. I live in Melbourne Australia in a tiny apartment that I own. I ride an electric bicycle and I don’t own a car. My favourite novelists are Charlotte Bronte, Anne Bronte, Jane Austen, Paul Gallico and Miss Read.

I contributed a chapter to the book Intimate Partner Sexual Violence: A Multidisciplinary Guide to Improving Services and Support for Survivors of Rape and Abuse [affiliate link]. My chapter is titled ‘Pastoral Responses to Christian Survivors of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence’.

More biographical info about me can be found here.

‘Reaching Out’  — assistant

email:   reachingout.acfj@gmail.com

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. Reaching Out is a Christian, trusting God to use her experience to assist others on their journey. Her favourite scripture is Revelation 2:9.

Email her if you have found broken links or you have techno-questions about this website.

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Former members of the ACFJ team

Jeff Crippen

Jeff began the ACFJ blog in 2012 and resigned from ACFJ in Sept 2017.

He is the pastor of Christ Reformation Church in Tillamook, Oregon and has been a pastor since 1983. Jeff started studying the subject of domestic violence and abuse in 2009, after he and his church suffered through an incident of sexual abuse by a member of their church.  As a result he taught a 21-sermon series entitled Domestic Violence and Abuse.

In 2012 Jeff co-authored a book titled A Cry for Justice:  How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in your Church [affiliate link¹]; his desire being to equip pastors, elders, church leaders and members to recognize the signs of abuse and to be prepared to help the victims.  In 2015 Jeff, along with Rebecca Davis, wrote and published a second book on abusers hiding in the church: Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church [affiliate link].

Ellie

For almost 21 years Ellie was married to a mental, verbal, and physical abuser who in addition to pornography, committed adultery with his married subordinate before Ellie divorced him. She hopes that God will use her writing to bring hope and freedom to targets of abuse and to equip others to effectively help those targets of abuse to be free of oppression.

Wendell

Wendell has been a Christian since late childhood and is a former pastor, a victim of childhood abuse and the father of a spousal-abuse victim.  It was his introduction to the abuse and subsequent divorce that his daughter suffered that brought him to the blog.  He has a special heart for the families of abuse victims and, due to his experiences fighting a former pornography addiction, has a unique understanding of that world and those affected by it.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in Practical Theology and a Master of Science in Information Science. He is currently a library automation specialist for a library system in southeastern Texas. He and his wife Zelma (who has a PhD in Educational Psychology) have been married for over 37 years. They have two daughters who live in the same area as well as eight grandchildren.

Deborah

Deborah is a Christ follower, a wife and a mom, a survivor of domestic abuse and a writer.  She’s a special education teacher by training but no longer teaches. She’s published a book of poetry born out of her healing journey, and is currently working on another book of poetry as well as a book on abuse aimed at prevention.

Megan C

Megan chose to follow Christ after her parents were killed in a car accident in 1998. She attended Liberty University where she met and married a man who was studying to be a pastor. They had four children. For 12 years, Megan and her children were mentally, verbally, emotionally, spiritually and physically abused. The marriage ended in 2011 and Megan was able to receive sole custody of her children and move on toward healing. Megan has a Masters degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Megan is now happily re-married to Dr. David B Cox.

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