By Caroline Abbott (www.carolineabbott.com)
My pen name is Caroline Abbott. I don’t use my real name because my children have asked me not to. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for 20 years. Being a strong Christian, I vowed never to divorce. I did everything in my power to hold my marriage together. Eventually, my husband started to be physically abusive, and I became afraid of him to the point I was afraid for my life. I asked the pastors of my church for help two different times, but they did not understand I was really being abused, since I did not have bruises and broken bones, and they didn’t know how to help me. Finally, I got a restraining order and had my husband removed from our home. He then went to our pastors and played the victim. They told me I had no biblical right to divorce. I was pretty angry. I told them they knew what was happening for over a year, and did nothing to stop it, so I did what I had to do to protect myself and my kids.
I began writing a book to help other Christian victims of domestic violence. While writing the book, I trained to become a domestic violence advocate, and started acting as the DV advocate for my new church. It took me seven years, but it was published last year. It is called A Journey through Emotional Abuse: from Bondage to Freedom. In the book, I explain that abuse is about power and control, and that it occurs even in Christian homes. I help a woman decide whether she can/should go to her church for help, and how to use the Matthew 18 process to hold her husband accountable. If he is willing/able to change, the marriage can sometimes be saved. If not, I advise her to get help from a women’s crisis center, create a safety plan, and leave if and when she feels safe to do so. I discuss what the bible says about divorce under these circumstances. Then, I walk her through all the things she might have to with the courts, and even discuss whether remarriage is possible according to the Bible.
Today, I am remarried to a wonderful Christian man. We have seven children between us. We are very devoted to our children, our church and overseas missions. I help abused women through my website and blog (www.carolineabbott.com), my Facebook page, and Twitter. Life is far from perfect, but I have worked hard at healing from the abuse I have experienced. I am currently writing my second book which will be entitled A Journey to Healing after Emotional Abuse. Through it I hope to help many survivors of domestic violence along their journey toward healing as well. There is hope after abuse, with the Lord’s help. One of the verses I have held tightly to during my first marriage, and during the years since then is Hebrews 13:5b-6:
God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”
I praise the Lord for never leaving me during all these difficult years!