20 February 2023 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
My husband is a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. He regularly hits me when he is upset with me. I have had bruises on many parts of my body. I have told many lies to the people in church about tripping on a step or walking into a doorframe.
I’m not sure people believe me anyway, because I live in a part of the world where my husband isn’t the only one who does this. Many of my friends in church are struck by their husbands. I have heard the husbands allude to it in their conversations with one another, and even chuckle about it as though they are proud of taking a strong hand in the home.
I have told my husband that this behavior is not biblical. I tell him that this is not how pastors (or even ordinary church members) in North America or Europe typically treat their wives. He insists that the Bible says he rules over me, and his punishing me is for my own good. If I threaten to call the police, he says, “Go ahead. You know they’ll take my side. Then I’ll really punish you.”
He’s right. I can’t leave, because I have no place to go where he couldn’t find me and make things worse for me. I am sometimes so discouraged that I want to kill myself.
I don’t really have a question. I just want you and your readers to know that this is not at all uncommon in many parts of the world church. I have heard many sermons from visiting denominational leaders about the time of the end and paying tithe and eating the right foods and attending church. I have never heard them give a sermon about not hitting your wives, though I know they know it happens here.
Sincerely, Bruised, battered and about to give up
I confess that after reading your letter I am in tears. And sadly, I don’t know how to help you in the situation you are in.
Aunty talked to some friends in church leadership, who reluctantly acknowledged that they had heard similar stories while traveling in other parts of the world church. When Aunty asked them what they did about it, they admitted that they have done nothing, writing it off as a cultural difference.
Even though Aunty can’t help you directly, please know that you do not deserve this treatment, and Aunty will keep advocating for you and women like you. Aunty is praying that someone who has an authoritative voice in the church will read your plea, and will address what appears to be a long-overdue problem.
Grieving with you,
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—without identifying the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.