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    • #125097
      Silverbirch
      Participant

      Hello. This is my first time here. I’m divorced after decades of abuse and protecting children. It’s a miracle that we are all out alive. I’m beginning to face up to the reality of what I lived through and the damage it has done. When I was in it , it was a question of survival and finding the safest way out. At times I thought I wouldn’t make it. But here I am, with the love of my children and trustworthy friends and doing work I love. I’ve just read the report called Out of the Shadows: Christianity and Violence against Women in Scotland. It’s heartbreaking and it’s exactly my story. So it would help me if there are any other women out there who stayed not only because of being terrorised by their partner, but also because of being pressurised and silenced by the culture of some of the church. Many of the family members and friends who knew what was happening to me and did nothing were and still are committed churchgoers, as is my ex. I can’t get my head around this. It was one of the most soul destroying parts of the abuse. It felt like I was just expected to be silent and try even harder. I felt isolated and almost betrayed. I know that if I’d seen this happening to a friend or family member I would have asked if I could help. So I don’t understand their silence. Thank you .

    • #125105
      Darcy
      Participant

      Hi beautiful Angel… Silverbirch,
      Well done for leaving … it is heart breaking to read that you were not supported in an environment where you thought the support would be plenty. I would be interested to read that report to. Women need to be supporting and empowering other women always from what ever background they come from.
      I am glad you are out now and send you continued love and support
      Darcy xx

      • #125153
        Silverbirch
        Participant

        Thank you for your kind and encouraging words Darcy. I really appreciate this.

    • #125197
      Empoweredhealing
      Participant

      Hi there, I think domestic abuse has always been a deep dark secret within the church. Many victims go to their pastor and spiritual leaders for help. But the church’s ideology of preserving the marriage at all costs really trapped so many victims of abuse. And abusers almost get a license to keep abusing. (detail removed by Moderator).

      But I think this is changing. A lot of women are speaking out about abuse within the Christian community. Have you tried looking on Youtube? I was pleasantly surprised by a few videos from Christian channels recently. Abuse is increasingly recognized as a cancer that cannot be tolerated. Leaders are being educated on abuse and how to support and counsel victims. It’ll probably be slow but at least it’s changing a little bit.

      • #125233
        Silverbirch
        Participant

        Hi Empoweredhealing, it was very helpful to read this. Yes, preserving the marriage was the focus, and also really not naming abuse as abuse but walking past on the other side. It destroyed my faith in the institution of the church, and in fact in what I used to call God. But there was one person, a priest, who understood exactly what was happening and said I did not have to remain in the marriage . He also said that I would have to take care about my own safety as I left. This was the only time a person in authority in and branch of the Christian church had shown me any respect or concern as a person being abused. I received support from two Christian women, and their kindness and understanding were pivotal in getting me and my children out safely. But these are the precious exceptions to the general rule of turning a blind eye. The teachings of the church and the fear instilled by my ex were what kept me imprisoned and isolated for decades and almost destroyed me.

    • #125262
      ISOPeace
      Participant

      Hi Silverbirch, I can see how the behaviour of people in the church must have added extra layers of pain to the abuse. You must be so strong to have endured all of that and so brave to get out.

      I’ve started reading a book called Healing from Hidden Abuse, by Shannon Thomas. She covers different types of abusers, and one is the toxic church. She’s from the US, so I guess there will be differences in the churches she’s talking about. She describes how abusive people are drawn to becoming clergy and how difficult it is for individuals to go against the herd. She also says that you can’t expect priests to recognise and understand abuse, when many trained therapists are unable to recognise/understand it. I haven’t got to the healing part yet, so I can’t say how good it is, but it might be worth taking a look at. Sending love xxxx

      • #125267
        Silverbirch
        Participant

        ISOPeace, thank you for your kind words. To be honest I feel ashamed most of the time, as if I magically should have found a way out sooner. Instead it took me most of my adult life. I think having children makes it so much more difficult, at least it did for me. I didn’t care what happened to me, but i did care what happened to them. So it took a long time to get everyone out safely. Thanks also for the book idea – I will follow that up. It’s amazing how women reach out and support each other on here. x

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