Christian Domestic Violence

Christian Women journeying with Domestic Abuse.

Christian Women journeying with Domestic Abuse.

Covid-19 Update, April 2020: Pastoral letter to a Christian woman navigating domestic abuse during lockdown (PDF Download)

The world of a woman who is trying to navigate an abusive Christian marriage is burdensome. As well as her spiritual beliefs about marriage, there is relentless need for caution. Women talk of watching over their shoulder, wondering if (when) his mood will change, and trying to avoid conflict.

Women struggle with propping up a sick relationship, living sacrificially and giving up their own entitlement to peace and safety, leaving to protect children, or choosing to stay for the sake of provision for children. There is the fear of shame and misunderstanding from relatives, workmates, and church friends if she leaves the relationship.

People who matter to the woman might be shocked and judgemental. Others don’t see the whole story of a relationship and make assumptions that all is well. If she leaves, she fears being seen to be compromising her faith beliefs about marriage. Christian family or friends may observe strain and make assumptions that whatever is wrong can be easily fixed with prayer, forgiveness, and commitment. There can be a lot to cover up.

Huge effort is required to keep on hoping for change. Accommodating one’s own behaviour to manage an abusive husband is a heavy burden. Concerning these issues Project Esther focuses on the use of scripture in the pain-filled places of domestic abuse. We want to offer empowering biblical perspectives to Christian women who are being abused and to encourage women who are in life-long recovery from being in a controlling relationship.

Of course there are other issues women face in the context of abuse, not the least being physical safety, or dealing with perpetrators and legal systems. We can refer for these needs.

Daphne has done significant research, writing and speaking on the topic of domestic violence in a Christian context. Her thesis, Dishonoured And Unheard: Christian Women, Domestic Violence And The Church is available for download and her book of the same title is available for purchase for those wishing to learn more.

To talk or find help email Daphne: dmarsden@swbc.org.nz

"No one is deserving of abuse from their partner."

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