They said it was only abuse if you were hit, and words didn’t count. You saw how they responded to social media posts about others being abused, and knew what they would say if you asked for help.
When you were being belittled about your dress, your friends, kept in isolation, you were told, it didn’t count as abuse. You needed to grow and submit. If you did, it would change.
It wasn’t abuse when you were slapped across the face. It didn’t happen all the time, and you were all going through a hard time. You should understand that. Abuse is when it is all the time, not a lapse in judgment. “Come for help when it is really abuse.”
When you were held down, had your clothing torn, it wasn’t abuse. You were married. “What did you expect by wearing that? You were just asking for it. It isn’t abuse, they were just taking what belonged to them. You should have been more into it.”
When you went to court to get an order of protection, the pastor testified for your abuser. “They are kind, caring, involved in the church and it is just a misunderstanding. It was a joke and you have no sense of humor. They would never do what you are saying since I have never seen it. They volunteer in Sunday school and are always so amazing.” It isn’t Abuse.
When you were killed, the church was in shock as your significant other was arrested for the crime of murder. “How could we have missed it? There were never any signs. It must be a mistake. We couldn’t have done anything different.” They assure themselves, absolving the blame while refusing to see the truth. They absolve the articles on “How to fix your marriage” or “Ten Steps to a Better Marriage” as they were talking to healthy couples, not those with real issues.
Abuse hides in homes, our churches, our schools. It doesn’t always present in the typical way you think and doesn’t discriminate. When someone shares, asking for help for marriage issues, often remind yourself, there is a possibility that you need to look deeper, beyond “marriage struggles”. The wrong kind of counseling can cost someone their life, and you will be held accountable. Even if you never have said anything directly to someone that is in this situation, it is likely they have watched you interact online. You have commented on a news article, a friend’s post or the like, with words of a similar nature.
If you need help, don’t call the local church for help. Call The Hotline to get connected with resources in your area. It is confidential.