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Is The Church a Friend To Survivors Of Abuse?
After 6 years, I left an abusive relationship with an X partner (we were NOT married) in October 2004. He had verbally, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abused me since the birth of my daughter in October 2001. He also had abused my daughter physically, as well as in many of the same ways that he'd abused me, since she began crawling. He also neglected her.
After leaving this relationship, I moved in with my parents and began attending church with them. I soon gained custody of my daughter and we prepared for a new life together. Then the courts decided that they were going to give my X partial/joint custody. He would have her 4 days a week while I'd only have her 3 days. The courts began transitioning and preparing my daughter for this, I grew angry with God, questioning why He would allow this to happen. Well, to make a long story short, I once again chose to leave the church. Two of the church's 4 pastors new full well what I'd gone through and what was currently going on and yet not 1 phone call.
I felt as though the church didn't care about me. I began seeing the church as my enemy. I feel as though they condemned me for having not been married because then somehow, magically, I wouldn't have gone through this abuse. Needless to say, I have yet to return to this or any other church. This church had claimed that they wanted to meet people wherever they were at and yet I found that to be a lie. This makes me wonder if any church truly wants to embrace and care for its members. I wonder if any church is truly friendly and caring.
I have found the church to be filled with toxic Christians who shoot the wounded and condemn the victim. Yet, I know that this isn't how it should be. I know that this isn't how God wants His church to behave. I am told this in 3 specific places in the Bible: Romans 15:1-7, Galatians 6:2 ("Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."), and Colossians 3:12-14. Unfortunately it has been my experience that the church doesn' behave this way though.
The church is filled with imperfect, human people, many of whom have no idea of what it feels like to have been abused. These people don't understand the scale of the pain, and thus it is easy for them to be insensitive enough to brush it aside as a minor inconvenience in a way no fellow survivor would even consider. I encourage you, my fellow church members, to consider your actions and how Christ would look upon them. I believe that you would find yourself agreeing that it is not spiritual to stand in the line of fire when you can walk away. I yearn for the day when I am able to find a church that is able to be my friend. I yearn to find a church that is able to truly forgive and accept me in all my humanness. If you're a member of such a church, praise God! If not, I encourage you to strive to help your church become the type of church that accepts and helps heal survivors of abuse in the same way as Christ Himself would accept and help these survivors to heal.
This article was posted on August 14, 2005