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The Christian community has done a very poor job of treating women with respect. Some husbands have resorted to treating their wives as objects and even practice “domestic discipline” or wife spanking. This is wrong.
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Men treating women/wives as objects they own
I’ve been thinking about how many men – men I don’t even know – have asked me who gave me permission to say what I do on Twitter or on my blog. I even tweeted about this earlier:
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Question: How many of you women tweeters & bloggers got your husband’s or pastor’s permission to “speak out?” I get this question a lot!
— Julie Anne (@DefendTheSheep) October 9, 2013
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Where do some men get the idea that they get to own women and tell them what they can say, do, think, believe, etc? Many of you have seen men ask me these questions. In my former circles, I didn’t really question it much as it didn’t offend me. It was normal for women to be subservient. If men treated women poorly, we were taught to suck it up and pray for our husbands – that God would change his heart. Their hearts might never change, but we were enduring hardship and that was noble for a godly women. Nobody held the husbands accountable, but if wives complained about our husbands, we were told that we were in sin for complaining, not being respectful.
In March of 2012 I contacted Grace Community Church to seek their help on my abusive church situation in which I had become aware that my pastor was possibly going to sue me. Two of the pastors asked where my husband was – and why wasn’t I tending the home, etc? I remember thinking, “where in the world did that comment come from?” At the time, I really wasn’t looking at it as a slam to the value of womanhood, but a diversion tactic to avoid dealing with the issue of spiritual abuse. Now I know better after seeing this similar pattern time and again in specific Christian circles.
Now, after observing patterns for the last 18 months, I don’t believe the leaders at Grace Community Church would have ever done anything regarding the spiritual abuse at my former church because I, a woman, was speaking out about it. In their minds, it was not my place to speak out. If there was a problem in our church, my husband should have been the one doing the speaking. I believe I was completely discredited by virtue of my sex: being a woman.
This is one example of women not being respected and allowed to use her individual voice. Not long after I published the above tweet, a shocking story came up on my Twitter feed, and it shows an even bigger problem of ownership and degradation of women:
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Husband beats wife with paddle for disrespecting him and not addressing him as “sir” in front of their kids
An Ephrata man was jailed Wednesday for beating his wife when she didn’t address him as “Sir” in front of their kids.
This barbarian treated his own beloved wife on a completely different level from parent. She was an object, perhaps even “lower” than their children.
Dan Kirby Kopp, 49, routinely beat his wife with a wooden paddle or his hand as a way of disciplining her for not showing proper “respect,” according to investigators.
Right, because it’s his job to “discipline” his wife. Who gets to discipline him when he gets out of line?
According to charging documents, Kopp would take his wife over his knee and spank her, so she would “learn a lesson.”
What respect is he showing his wife in spanking her? Oh, I know, he thinks he is showing her respect because he loves her enough to discipline her – to show her “tough love.” The article does not mention this couple’s religious background, but does give a clue further down about “demons,” so I suspect there is some sort of religious belief in the home. Is it because he’s the spiritual head of the home and he feels he is responsible before God to make sure his family is in order that he behaves this way? If so, I know these types.
Thank God this woman had the moxie to videotape this spanking episode or she would probably still be in this abusive hell hole.
The wife had enough by October 2012 and went to Ephrata police to report the abuse.
She told officers Kopp — who is 6-foot-5, 230 pounds — abused her as a “means of disciplining her for disobedience to him for undermining his parenting,” an affidavit shows.
The wife used an iPhone to videotape a Sept. 22, 2012 beating, which was shown to jurors.
The video shows Kopp beating the woman with a paddle for not addressing him with, “Yes, sir.”
Kopp also warned his wife that next time he would “cast demons out of her,” charging documents show. (Lancaster Online: Ephrata man convicted of beating wife with wooden paddle for refusing to call him “sir”)
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Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washingwith water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:25-30
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I haven’t written any articles on Christian domestic discipline before. However, since the blog’s inception, I have read personal reports from abused wives, friends of abused wives, and have spoken on the phone with pastors who have confirmed that domestic discipline is common practice in some Christian circles. Yes, I said common practice. One pastor contacted me to share his growing concern and personal observations in his denomination. He told me that one rarely finds the practice of “domestic discipline” written in literature, but its practice is spread from pastors to other pastors and then to the men of the church in mens’ meetings. This is despicable. Women are not objects. They are created in God’s image.
About a year ago, I had been researching this subject for hours over several weeks, but had to limit my time due to physical abuse triggers. I think I am over that now. Now I am at the angry stage. I will be speaking out very loudly against it. I am sick and tired of the “Christian” church allowing men to treat women as scum of the earth.
Whenever someone questions me again for speaking out and puts me or another woman on my blog down as trash, I will offer the man an opportunity to apologize and take it back. If he doesn’t, I will make his comment more public so that all can see. I am fed up with this atrocity. This is not godly. It is not loving. It is abuse of God’s creation.
If you are being spanked by your husband, your husband is abusing you. Your husband has no right to inflict physical violence on your body. If you are not consenting to the spanking, he is committing assault and battery and is demonstrating criminal behavior. If you are not in a safe place, seek a domestic violence hotline and call for help. Do NOT under any circumstance go to your church to report, as “domestic discipline” might be the normal practice there and your husband will likely be defended. I have read countless stories of women being charged as the sinner for not submitting, not respecting, not loving their husbands by their pastor. Some women have been put on church trials, placed in church discipline, or even been excommunicated for not remaining quiet and “submissive.”
God does not expect any wife to submit to abuse. There are many people who are going through what you are going through. You can get help and get free from your abusive situation. Feel free to comment here using a pseudonym, contact me via e-mail (spiritualsb @ gmail.com) or ask to join the private forum if you like. There are many here who would like to come alongside you and encourage you, some having personally experienced various forms of abuse in their own marriages. A couple of our regular readers have ministry work with domestic violence survivors. You don’t need to do this by yourself.
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PS – A special thanks to the true manly men who have made a point of calling out the misogynistic behavior I had been blinded to for so many years.