This story is part of our SOS series - We are unsure of the source of this story as it came to us as a letter in the mail, with no return address. Some details were changed slightly to protect those who may wish not to be identified.
My sister was date raped when she was 15 years old. She became pregnant so they “had” to get married. They had to stand up before the church and confess to the sin of the seventh commandment. She was 16 years old for one day when her first child was born. Ten months later the second one was born, then 10 months later another one was born. When she had five, she just disappeared. She left.
Her husband came over to my house and told me that he would call her on his way home from his job driving a truck. He said he told her to have his dinner ready and be ready to have sex with him. That could happen at 2 am or 4 pm or whatever time he was going to be home. He was laughing when he said this.
My sister told me once about a “family visitation” by her pastor and an elder. When they asked her about her spiritual life, she told them that sometimes her husband beat her. Their response was “Grandpa VanBeek beets grandma VanBeek; do you think that you’re better than grandma VanBeek?” Of course not. She did not go into detail about the why of the beatings. If she did not want sex, and resisted, that is when he would beat her.
So, five children were raised without a mother in the home. Their lives have been greatly complicated as a result. My sister, of course, had not finished school; but she managed to get a job and make a life for herself. A few years later, she resumed contact with her children.
The last two years of her husband’s life, one of their daughters came to stay with him to care for him. He attempted to rape her; when she resisted he tried to kill her. She managed to get her cell phone and call the police. She went to the hospital. He was arrested and went to jail. He died in jail.
Tragic lives, all because one selfish man felt entitled to demand sex whenever he wanted it, without regard for anyone else.
This is a different time; perhaps none of this could ever happen again. However, it’s difficult to know if it’s happening or not as these issues often remain hidden. There is such a great need for a “safe church”, and it is encouraging to see something being done to get us there. It is important that pastors, as well as elders and deacons have training in how to deal with problems that arise, so that we can ensure our churches are safe places. God’s speed to Safe Church Ministry.
Domestic abuse still is a very prevalent problem that leaves a wake of devastation in families, churches, and communities. We believe that the church has an important role to play. Greater understanding and a compassionate responses can make all the difference. Safe Church Ministry has gathered and created resources about domestic abuse, and how the church can help. It takes all of us working together to make our churches safer for everyone. Think about how a different response from the church could have made a positive difference in the life of this family.