From the comments I've gotten on this blog, it's obvious that most of you had run into the same difficulty I had. The problem was thinking that your church or the medical profession would readily help you.
It is certainly not my intention to say that all churches, and all medical personnel are not willing to help. Yet, it's been my own personal experience that where you think there would be help...there may be no help at all. Many of you have echoed similar experiences.
However, now, I've finally gotten the "ear" of a few medical personnel and a few church leaders. It appears that with the majority of the medical professionals, they are content to rely on their statistics to gather necessary information on the demographics of the problem and how to best be of assistance. Yet, statistics can be skewed to the view of the one gathering the information.
I still get many emails from you telling me that some (not all) nurses in the Emergency Departments, or Immediate Care facilities are not even bothering to look up from the keyboard when they ask you, if you are living in a safe environment. You are also telling me that you are not being asked this when alone...and this is critical, that you be alone! None of us, having been in an abusive relationship would ever admit to being abused with our abuser standing right there. Personally, I've found it unsafe with anyone being there. There were many times my abuser refused to even take me to the hospital for treatment, instead having his sister or another female relative accompany me. Needless to say, I could never admit to abuse in front of them, as they always reported back to him what I said.
Then there are many churches, like the one I was involved for over two decades (and in leadership). It was here that I was told, "That's just the way he is"..."What are you doing to "provoke" him"..."You have no Biblical grounds for divorce"..."You need to adapt yourself to your husbands plans"...and a numerous array of reasons why the abuse was "my fault".
I encourage you to read previous posts I've written as there is an enormous amount of information contained within them. You can read for yourself, the betrayal of a friend of over 20 years...the total disconnect of my own pastor...the lack of help from the medical community...including the hospital calling my abuser to tell him the time to have me at the hospital and what entrance to use!
There was a time, while attempting to make a hasty retreat from my abuser, I fell off the porch. This resulted in multiple fractures, torn hamstring, etc. During this time, I received a letter from my pastor. This when I still thought that, perhaps, my pastor would understand and intervene with some sorely needed help. I was so excited when I received the letter, I tore it open immediately.
Below you'll see a 'verbatim' account of a bit (for privacy purposes, I'm not publishing it in it's entirety) of his letter. After reading it, I was devastated. Obviously, I am not going to include names of individuals.
Sincere Christian Greetings!
I have been informed a couple of times and most recently by (another church leader) that you are unhappy with me because I have not called you concerning your absence from church.
Let me say first of all, you have been contacted numerous times through my wife and Pastor ( ) either directly by phone, by mail or through your husband. We have tried to show concern for you. Secondly, I rarely call a woman for or about anything. Thirdly, I have been very cautious about ministry problems; giving my time to the living and not the dying.
If you have an issue with me, the appropriate thing would have been to bring it to me.
You walked out of this ministry with no word or explanation. An ordained minister by definition is a “mature one.” You should be focusing in on what you did and how you did it rather than being upset with me for what you think I should have done. I am disappointed in your behavior.
The Holy Spirit has revealed more to me about your situation than you may be aware of.
I do love and pray for you.
There was absolutely no validity to a single issue...not one. And at no time was I contacted by anyone. My absence had nothing to do with the church...it had everything to do with my abuser. He said "The Holy Spirit has revealed more to me about your situation than you may be aware of." I was left to wonder, if the Holy Spirit, indeed, had revealed anything to him...why he didn't seek to intervene.
Another letter he'd written me of a perceived wrong doing on my part...I was not even within the United States. However, no one bothered to check his or her facts. When it was discovered that I wasn't even in the country...no apology was offered...no anything.
It took many months working with the Assault Counselor to finally come to realize that the abuse was not my fault, and that the church I was a part of was "toxic". Numerous times, the Assault Counselor would ask me "What church did you come from?" I never answered her, although she asked me at each session. Finally, during our last session, she asked again. This time, I asked her why she wanted to know this information. She said,"I want to make sure we don't refer any of our clients there." This was the only reason, I did tell her. When I told her, she nodded her head...as she had heard the name of this church before.
There are enormous resources available to help those of you in crisis. I simply wanted to let you know that your help may not come from where you think it will. However, don't give up and certainly don't back down...as there is help! I have some resource contacts on my site.
Help also comes in unexpected ways. This is what taught me that a 'coincidence is when the Lord decides to remain anonymous'.
If I could reach out and (((hug))) each one of you, I'd do it. Be reminded that you are being prayed for by an army of women that care!