Divorce is a complex and emotional process. And for some, it can also be accompanied by abuse. However, the topic of Christian divorce abuse has long been a taboo topic, leaving many victims to suffer in silence. But, finally, this issue is being brought to light.
It may surprise some to learn that Christians are not immune to the issue of domestic abuse. In fact, a study by the Journal of Family Violence found that conservative Protestant men were more likely to physically abuse their spouses than their counterparts who were not religious.
One of the unique aspects of Christian divorce abuse is that the abuser may use religion to justify their behavior. For example, they may claim that divorce is a sin and that their spouse must endure the abuse in order to maintain their marriage vows.
Furthermore, the Christian community can often pressure victims to stay in abusive marriages. This pressure can come from church leaders who preach that divorce is never an option, or from fellow believers who emphasize forgiveness and submission over individual safety and well-being.
This systemic problem of Christian divorce abuse has recently been brought to light by a number of brave individuals, including Christian author and speaker Ruth Everhart. In her book “The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct,” Everhart shares her own experience of abuse at the hands of her former husband, who was also a Christian pastor.
Everhart’s book is just the tip of the iceberg, as more and more victims are speaking out about the abuse they have suffered. Many are finding support through organizations like Christians United Against Domestic Violence, which offers resources and counseling specifically for Christian survivors of abuse.
It is important to note that divorce, in cases of abuse, is not only acceptable but necessary for the safety and well-being of the victim. Survivors of Christian divorce abuse should not feel shame or guilt for leaving their abuser, and they should be able to find support within their faith community.
Silent suffering is no longer an option for Christian victims of domestic abuse. By bringing this issue to light and offering support and resources, we can work towards ending the cycle of Christian divorce abuse and creating a safer, more supportive community for all.