Ayvaunn Penn, All Christian News
Abuse. It’s everywhere. Yes, even the places you least expect it — like the body of believers. Clearly this is unacceptable behavior, so why is it so accepted in the church? I can imagine there are many people who would be quick to say that it is a blunder to claim that the church is accepting of abuse. Those same people, however, must ask themselves why, then, Christian women are encouraged to keep their mouths shut about abusive husbands — especially when they are the wife of a church leader.
What women who are quick to speak up face: This woman takes no shame in confiding in her trusted few the numerous times her husband has acted abusively towards her. The first thing she faces is people — men and women alike — telling her not to ruin her husband’s reputation. Often elder women will advise, “Honey, your husband is a pastor/minister/deacon. What will people think if they knew he put his hands around your neck? He has things to do…sick people to visit. Baby, you don’t want to stand in the way of that. There are people counting on him. Beside, people don’t need to know.” While it is great to have concern for the well being of other people, what about the well being of the poor wife? What about the well being of any children involved?
What women who are slow to speak up face: This woman faces the disbelief of her fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. She has been keeping her husband’s acts of abuse towards her secret for quite some time, but she has decided she is fed up with fronting a happy life. All her church members only know the good they have seen her husband do, so when she finally gets up the nerve to speak up, people say, “What? Your husband did what? I don’t know if I believe that. He is so calm tempered. He never gets angry.” This woman’s pleas are too often dismissed, and she is made out as the bad guy for daring to speak against her husband.
What women who never speak up face: This woman has sees the way her peers have been treated for revealing the true nature of their husbands. This woman represents many in the church who simply “bear it.” She smiles on the outside while she slowly dies on the inside. Depending on the severity of the situation, as we too frequently hear in the news, sometimes this woman nor her children live to tell their story.
For all of these women, we need to embrace them, do what we can to keep their children safe, and seek not only spiritual but professional intervention for their husbands. Today, let the Christian community be the first to put an end to this “hush hush” culture and the perception that a woman is slandering her husband if she refuses to keep abuse secret.
The video above gives an inside look into the mind of an abused Christian woman.
The founder of Your Black Poets, Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. Click to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here.