At the end of myself…at the feet of Jesus

Matthew 25: 40, And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

How Should Churches Respond to Claims of Domestic Abuse?

2 Comments


  • First and foremost, make it known that you will listen to victims.
  • When a woman comes to you with a description of abuse, believe her. Her description of what she is going through is only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Help her to understand that God is safe, He is there for her and He abhors what her abuser has done to her. Be prepared to answer her questions about God.
  • Pray with her. Continue to pray for her.
  • Don’t react with horror to her story. Remember that sharing her story is quite possibly embarrassing and difficult for her.
  • Sympathize with her but do not pity her. Pity is far more than most abuse victims can stand.
  • Assure her that this is not her fault and that she doesn’t deserve to be treated in such a vile manner. It doesn’t matter what she may have done or not done, abuse is not  justified.
  • Do not suggest that she seek counseling with her abuser. She will not be free to tell the truth and will be placed in increased danger. 
  • Do not send her home with directions to “submit more”, “be a better wife”, “be more forgiving” or anything else like that. She’s probably far more submissive than most women in the church; most abused women are.
  • Assess the situation. Is it safe for her and her children to return home?
  • Have at hand the contact information for shelters for battered women. Give her the National Hotline number: 1-800-SAFE (7233).
  • If she has left home to protect herself and her children, don’t tell her to go back, try harder, forgive more. Women and children have been killed by doing this.
  • If she returns home, help her come up with a safety plan. Set up a code word to express she is in danger if she should have need to call you or talk to you with her abuser around.
  • Many women who are abused do not have enough food, money or medical care. Assess her needs and offer aid as needed.
  • Do not share what she has told you with her abuser.
  • Do not spread her story around the church.
  • If she has fled her abuser, do not share with anyone where she is. This is especially true for her abuser; to share her whereabouts is to place her in danger.
  • Offer to help her with her children. Find out what their needs are and try to help her with them.
  • Commit to helping her, listening to her, believing her. Let her know you are available for her to call you should she need to.
  • Help her to understand what “normal” is: normal relationships, normal grieving of her loss, normal anything. Help her to learn to reach for normal.
  • Don’t get so involved so that she depends on you to make her decisions or that she doesn’t heal or grow. Do be there for her and find others who will be there for her. She probably has no one on whom she can depend or to whom she can turn.

Advertisements

Author: annagracewood

Slave of Christ. Reformed Baptist. Mama of many blessings. Homemaker. Homeschooler. Author. Blogger. I write about practical Christian living, womanhood, and domestic violence awareness (with a few other topics thrown in). Passionate about Christ's glory, my children, homemaking, writing, the church, helping those in abusive situations, reading, and animals. Lover of good coffee.

2 thoughts on “How Should Churches Respond to Claims of Domestic Abuse?

  1. Excellent list, Anna. There’s several on there I’d like to highlight with an all-caps salute:

    “Sympathize with her but do not pity her. Pity is far more than most abuse victims can stand.”

    AMEN to that!

    “Do not suggest that she seek counseling with her abuser. She will not be free to tell the truth and will be placed in increased danger.”

    Do not EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, suggest she seek counseling with her abuser. Duct Tape your mouth shut if necessary.

    “Many women who are abused do not have enough food, money or medical care. Assess her needs and offer aid as needed.”

    Many women who are abused do not have enough food, money or medical care EVEN IF THEIR HUSBAND MAKES AN EXCELLENT LIVING. Many are being held as little more than poverty level servants/slaves/concubines. Their spouse does not see them as human and refuses to waste money on their needs.

    • You nailed it, sister. I especially like the duct tape your mouth part. I know several ministers who could benefit from that.

      You’re right: It matters little how much money some abusers make, their goal isn’t to provide for their families but to hold them in bondage. I’ve been held in poverty by H when he made little and when he made much more. Any tending to our needs came about during the “good times” phase during which he was trying to convince us it wasn’t as bad as we thought. Well, he was right about that. It wasn’t as bad; it was worse.

      God bless you~ Anna

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s