Religion and Domestic Violence is a subject I have avoided since I started writing here 3 years ago (wow has it been that long?). Every time I approached a pastor or preacher about what I was going through I was made to feel it was my fault he beat me or sexually assaulted me. I had to have done something to set him off or I wasn’t doing my “womanly duties”. One pastor went as far as saying that God was punishing me for having a child out of wedlock. Why would God bless me with the child I had been praying for for 8 years to turn around and punish me and the child with an abusive man?
When I read Jocelyn Anderson’s interview about her book “Woman Submit!” I knew I had to read it. I hadn’t found many Christian resources about their stance on domestic violence that was from a female prospective and were uplifting and helpful for a victim. Many Christians have come to me for guidance but there are 2 hindrances to me offering a Christian religious point of view for them:
1. I am not Christian, I am Buddhist
2. All of my experiences with Christian counselors has all been negative
I don’t want to discourage someone from seeking help from their faith. I will share my experience but I will not tell them to not seek out a person of their religion for help. Reading this book has now enlightened me on how to point a Christian in the right direction when I am approached for help.
Chapter 4 had a great impact on me and also backed some of my own thoughts and theories. It is entitled “The Eve Syndrome”. Anderson shares my critical thoughts about Dr. James Dobson and his opinions of abuse against women. She talks about even at the beginning of man, Adam and Eve, there was abuse from a man to a woman. Adam blamed Eve for the whole episode that caused God to banish them from Eden. How many times does this happen in an abusive relationship? As Anderson points out through this chapter, Adam was a very angry man until Eve gave birth to Enos. She also asks the question: “Can anyone deny both the scriptural and the empirical evidence that Adam was very likely the first abusive husband, and as such would have been the first father to pass on his abusive attributes to his sons?” (Page 67).
The whole book isn’t an attack on Christian negative response to domestic violence. Anderson presents the victim and the survivor with a great path to get out of your situation and how to begin the healing process afterwards by looking to God and Jesus. Reading her story and struggle that is interjected throughout the book helps you feel that you are not alone. Her testimony at the end of how she found God and Jesus is inspiring.
I am thankful for a book like Woman Submit! Finally someone has told the truth of the still primitive attitude towards abused Christian women, their struggle to live and how God and Jesus are still there despite the hell on Earth you may be experiencing.
Jocelyn Anderson writes for an online magazine called God’s Amazing Love http://www.godsamazinglove.net and is the author of several other books.