Domestic violence, evangelical churches, #churchDV #churchtoo
On Twitter, I saw a thread by Kaitlin @TuffTaffy who posted about the connection between the church and an abusive spouse. I asked Kaitlin permission to share it here and wanted it to open it up for conversation. I have compiled and edited them for easier reading below. Further down, you can find the original tweets. ~Julie Anne
For many women, the church is like an abusive spouse. Hear me out.
Intimate partner violence can be demonstrated in two ways: through the Power and Control Wheel and the Cycle of Violence.
The Cycle of Violence usually looks like this: Tension builds, an explosion happens, a honeymoon follows. All shrouded in denial. This graphic shows typical victim response to the violence in an attempt to prevent it.
The Power and Control Wheel explains all the ways an abuser can perpetrate. This graphic shows that abuse is not always physical, but includes things like gaslighting, emotional manipulation, and even asserting privilege.
We like to think of the Church as a safe space, but for many women, the Church is not benign. I can point to all the examples of churches harboring and empowering abusers and the sexual abuse that permeates the environment, but I want to look at something even more prevalent.
Complementarianism is a theology that says men and women are different. Different roles, same worth. However, the role of the male is always in the forefront, and the role of the woman is always in the background.
Complementarian churches teach things like “modest is hottest” and tell women that their worth is in their relationships with men (wife, mother, daughter). Their sexuality is seen as a prize won by and given to a man. Their relationship with God is determined by a man.
Their gifts are restricted, and they are told what to do and when to do it and how to do it. They are asked not to think or create unless a man tells them to think it or create it.
Anything they want to do becomes an agenda or debate. It becomes an “issue.” Women who question that are suspect and need to be put in their place or put out altogether.
So two things start to happen. The church asserts its power over her by telling her that her salvation is at risk and she begins to do everything she can to please it. When something happens that shakes the church’s authority, the woman is made to feel embarrassed and sinful.
This is toxic stuff. So, for women finding themselves in abusive relationships with churches, I say to you what I say to women caught in domestic violence: Get out! Run. And then go to professional therapy, and love yourself again. #churchtoo
Original tweets as shown on Twitter: