“Your problem is you won’t obey me. The Bible says you must obey me and you refuse,” he yelled. “You are a failure as a wife, as a Christian, as a mother. You are an insubordinate piece of s**t.”
These were the words Sally’s husband Peter threw at her the night before she left him.
Throughout his abuse, Peter read passages from the Bible to justify his claim that Sally had failed in her spiritual duties as a woman. God wanted her to submit to her husband, he said. For a long time, Sally believed him. She’s not alone in this experience.
Sally is one of the many women who have been interviewed by ABC News in their 12-month, extensive investigation into domestic violence and Christianity, which involved speaking with dozens of survivors, counsellors, and members of the church hierarchy from a range of Christian denominations. The research forms part of a broader inquiry into domestic violence and religion – the first instalment of which focused on Islam.
— ABC News (@abcnews) July 18, 2017
On Tuesday, an article by Julia Baird and Hayley Gleeson titled ‘Submit to your husbands’: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God’ cited research that the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who sporadically attend church.
It also argued that church communities present unique challenges to victims of domestic violence. The writers explored the problem with ‘male headship’ in the church as well as in the home, the stigma of divorce, and the recurring theme of victims not being heard or believed when they come to the church for help.