Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

**A Real Story of How Abusers Deceive Us+9

The following is taken from the third chapter (pp 63-4) of my book, A Cry for Justice (2012). This event happened to me way back in 1982 when I was a police officer in the Portland, Oregon area. (I am the officer who stayed with Judy, the victim). Myself and a second officer responded to a domestic disturbance call, and this is what happened –

The church has been failing victims.  Pastors and church members, so susceptible to deception because of their ignorance of the abuser’s motives, tactics and mentality, become the evil man’s ally.  Christ’s church becomes a place of suffering for the victim.  Those who are commissioned by Christ to seek justice end up on the villain’s side. 
Jared married Judy twelve years ago.  They are both members of Christ Evangelical Church and are well thought of.  Jared is particularly active, serving on two committees, one of which he chairs. But today, Jared is in jail.
Last night, Judy called the police after Jared twisted her arm.  He has done this before, but this time he went too far and broke it.  When the police arrived, Jared was standing in the yard to greet them, cool and calm.  One officer stayed with him while the other went inside.  Judy was sitting on the couch dressed only in her underwear, holding her arm.  The officer gave her a blanket to cover up and asked her what had happened.  Jared, she said, often gets violent and this time had actually broken her arm.  She felt it break and heard it snap.  Judy was sobbing.
While waiting for the ambulance, the officer with her looked out the front window.  Jared was still speaking calmly with his partner, even laughing about some joke.  The officer turned back to Judy and asked her again what had happened.  “I told you.  He broke my arm.”
Still battling with feelings of disbelief – “this guy is so calm and even jovial” – the officer went back outside and confronted Jared.  “She’s crazy!  I have no idea how her arm was injured.  I came home from work, ate dinner, and later she came running out of the hallway yelling that her arm was broken.”  But the fresh scratch marks on Jared’s forearms told a different story.  The officers arrested Jared and transported him to jail.  If it hadn’t been for those scratches….?
Jared was trying, almost successfully, to win the police as his allies.  He was telling jokes about the fickleness of women, plying on men’s common struggles with the female sex, and so on.  Before this all sorts itself out, Jared will win numbers of his fellow church members over to his side.  Judy will be chastised for causing him so much trouble.  Why couldn’t she just let bygones be bygones.  What of the children?  Now their daddy is in jail!  And if Judy leaves Jared (which she should!), Jared will become a victim to be pitied by the rest of the church as Christians quote “God hates divorce,” – a phrase, incidentally, that is not really in the Bible.  Check Malachi 2:16 in the ESV for confirmation.


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  1. cindy burrell

    “If it hadn’t been for those scratches…”
    That says it all. That wicked man had harmed his wife previously but had been “careful” (that word is so insidious in this context) not to harm her to the point where his wicked nature could be identified.
    This is what verbal and emotional victims must live with for months or years. No wounds-no proof-no help. This is also why many of us actually wish our abuser would hit us, so that we would be believed and maybe even rescued.

  2. Em

    Thank you. Thank you for enlightening those of us who have lived in total confusion for so long, believing the lies that we were taught. Thank you for being part of the answer, part of the solution, part of the truth of Christ that the oppressed so desperately need to hear. Just… thank you!

  3. Thanks to Cindy Burrell for pointing us to this article:
    If Only He Would Hit Me

  4. Z

    Yes. Those words, “If it hadn’t been for those scratches…???” Those haunting, triggering words bring back (PTSD) thoughts of the horrible gut-twisting injustice I and my husband suffered when “Those scratches” were so much more serious abuse injuries. And the attack was so obviously one-sided….
    (identifying details (of horrific abuse by a family member in the presence of other family members who didn’t stop the abuse and later lied to the police about what happened.) redacted to protect victim.
    We’ll never, ever get over what happened. Both the trauma of the brutal attack by my family on us AND the police’s inactions that night.
    It helps to “let it out” sometimes. To keep from buckling under the injustices. But also to help anyone who has experienced anything similar to know you can do everything right and still have everything turn out all wrong.

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