Impacts on children when churches blame and shame their Christian mothers, who are suffering abuse:
1. If the church won’t believe my mother about the abuse she’s experiencing, then they sure wouldn’t believe me about the abuse I’m experiencing! (Especially so if the child abuse is crazier and creepier and the teaching of an authoritarian and/or purity culture has been less than biblical.)
2. If I tell my mother what my father is doing, what good will that do? Nobody believes or trusts HER! They all know she’s crazy!
3. If the church wouldn’t believe my mom, why would my teachers believe me–or the police? Or anyone?
4. I am in so much pain here, but it’s better to wrap my story about my dad up tight and say only the stuff that people are likely to believe about my mom! At least this way I can get *some* empathy, from somebody! (I learned this one from a very courageous child.)
5. I hear my pastor and elders and adult friends at church agreeing with my father (and my father constantly reminds me of their agreement) that my mother is BAD–that she’s unspiritual, unstable, untrustworthy, wouldn’t know the truth if it hit her between the eyes, is angry and unforgiving, can’t do anything right or wise, and isn’t a good Christian–or a believer at all. I can’t really trust her, and it’s just better if I don’t tell her my worst problems.
6. I don’t have to do what my mom says. Even the church knows she’s crazy.
7. Just goes to show what all the stories say: You can’t trust adults much. The kids are for the kids.
(Not all from my experience. I listen to a lot of women and children.)
I would like to add this goes for police officers too.