Some abused women live in extreme poverty, sometimes due to lack of education or preparedness on their or their husband’s parts and sometimes due to choices their abuser has made or is making.
Abused women are often isolated by their husband. The isolation may be in the form of orders not to see, talk to or associate with family, friends or others or it might be in the form of being made to live in unsafe areas, run down houses, isolated locations and so forth. It’s not uncommon for abusers to move their families often.
Even at church, the abused Christian woman often feels alone. She might be afraid that others will find out the details of her painful life and she might be afraid they won’t. Her clothes, her car, her home might mark her out as different (due to being given little or no funds for such things) making her feel even more self-conscience.
Many abused wives were once abused daughters.
The abused woman might be doing every single thing that she can to teach her children about God, to keep them safe and fed, to get them educated, to provide for them, and to raise them right but if her abuser has his way, it will likely never be enough. Abusers frequently use the children against her, turn them against her or threaten them in order to control her.
Abused women and their children are often unhealthy due to the stressful conditions that they are forced to live in. Further, many abusers deny medical care to their spouses and their children.
All abuse starts with emotional abuse.
The abuser is often the friendliest guy you know, the one who is a great story teller, a fantastic friend, funny, kind, and always ready to lend a hand. That’s who he is in public and he’s very good at convincing you that that’s who he is at home. He’s not. At home, he’s evil.
The church often isn’t a very safe place for abused women. Scriptures are often twisted and used against them. They are told that God will be angry with them if they leave their abuser, and that divorce is a sin. They are often told that they abuse is their fault, and if they’d only pray more, try harder, cook better meals, be better at meeting his needs, be more obedient or submissive, that he wouldn’t treat her the way he does. Or she’s told that she’s making it up or exaggerating it. Or it’s God’s means of growing her in godliness. Or such other such dangerous nonsense. Rarely is she believed and offered the assistance she needs.
Many women stay with their abusers because they are afraid to leave–afraid that he’ll try to harm or kill her, himself or the children, afraid that he’ll try to paint her as mentally unbalanced and take the children, afraid that without his money she won’t be able to support herself and her children.
Porn addiction among abusive men frequently leads to sexual violence in their own marriages.
Children who grow up seeing their Moms abused will, if female, be more likely to marry an abuser or, if male, be more likely to become an abuser. Also, having become desensitized to seeing and hearing the abuse towards their Mom, sometimes leads them to become cruel towards her also.
Domestic abuse, domestic violence, isn’t just the abused woman’s problem. It’s a problem that belongs to all Christians. For far too long, to our shame, we’ve ignored the issues facing abused Christian women. It’s time for us to take Jesus seriously when He said we are to “love our neighbors as ourselves”, take a stand against it and figure out how to help. Believe it or not, considering that one in four women in the USA will be a victim of domestic abuse by someone in her family at some point in her life, you already know a victim of domestic abuse–even if you haven’t yet identified her. Figure out who she might be and get busy helping.
Soli Deo gloria!