Reputation of Christ
Another fear Christian wives have that makes them stay is thinking that a separation will hurt the cause of Christ – especially if her husband has a presence in the community or is a leader in the church (yes, he can be the pastor). What she should understand is that supporting and hiding the abuse is what will hurt the testimony of Christ.
A while ago, I took an abused person from another state for help and the head doctor who saw us said, “Stop. Let me guess. She’s from an Independent Baptist background?” I was shocked! Is abuse the IB reputation?! Our communities need to see Christians deal with abuse justly and swiftly to reflect the way our just God deals with unrepentant evil.
There is the very realistic fear of the stigma attached to separation accompanied by the shunning of friends and family. The heavy drapes of secrecy fall and no one is willing to “interfere”. She now feels the unspoken, “She sinfully abandoned her husband.” (more on that in a later post)
No One Will Believe Me
Not being believed when she does get the courage to tell someone is also high on the list of fears. The abuser is typically likeable and gentle, so no one can wrap their brain around what his wife claims is happening behind closed doors.
Then, when you think about it, how can the abused put into words this bizarre world she lives in? How hard to admit the delusion she’s believed and the evil she’s permitted to hurt her own children?
Typically, the abuser will do all he can to discredit his wife and minimize her testimony. One husband “told my mother that I may have a mental disorder.” 1
Safety and Sanity
A drug addict will do anything to get drugs and the abuser has just been deprived of his drug/victim. She has little doubt that all the threats he’s made could become reality, so she fears for her safety and her sanity.
Being on Her Own
Being alone is another huge fear – coupled with fear of how she and her little ones will survive financially, where they will live, who will fix the car and so on. Isolation from family and friends makes her feel she has no where to turn. Then, of course, there is empty loneliness.
What Will Happen to Him?
Some wives don’t want to leave their husband alone, fearing that he’ll deteriorate and they’ll be responsible. 2
In our next post, you’ll be surprised at more reasons the abused stay.