A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Thursday Thought — How Abusers Deceive Us: A True Story

The following is taken from the third chapter (pp63-4) of our book, A Cry for Justice (2012)*. We are posting this account here as a blog post at the request of some of our readers. This event happened to me, Jeff Crippen, way back in 1982 when I was a police officer in the Portland, Oregon area. Myself and a second officer responded to a domestic disturbance call, and this is what happened –

The church has been failing victims.  Pastors and church members, so susceptible to deception because of their ignorance of the abuser’s motives, tactics and mentality, become the evil man’s ally.  Christ’s church becomes a place of suffering for the victim.  Those who are commissioned by Christ to seek justice end up on the villain’s side. 

Jared married Judy twelve years ago.  They are both members of Christ Evangelical Church and are well thought of.  Jared is particularly active, serving on two committees, one of which he chairs. But today, Jared is in jail.

Last night, Judy called the police after Jared twisted her arm.  He has done this before, but this time he went too far and broke it.  When the police arrived, Jared was standing in the yard to greet them, cool and calm.  One officer stayed with him while the other went inside.  Judy was sitting on the couch dressed only in her underwear, holding her arm.  The officer gave her a blanket to cover up and asked her what had happened.  Jared, she said, often gets violent and this time had actually broken her arm.  She felt it break and heard it snap.  Judy was sobbing.

While waiting for the ambulance, the officer with her looked out the front window.  Jared was still speaking calmly with his partner, even laughing about some joke.  The officer turned back to Judy and asked her again what had happened.  “I told you.  He broke my arm.”

Still battling with feelings of disbelief – “this guy is so calm and even jovial” – the officer went back outside and confronted Jared.  “She’s crazy!  I have no idea how her arm was injured.  I came home from work, ate dinner, and later she came running out of the hallway yelling that her arm was broken.”  But the fresh scratch marks on Jared’s forearms told a different story.  The officers arrested Jared and transported him to jail.  If it hadn’t been for those scratches….?

Jared was trying, almost successfully, to win the police as his allies.  He was telling jokes about the fickleness of women, plying on men’s common struggles with the female sex, and so on.  Before this all sorts itself out, Jared will win numbers of his fellow church members over to his side.  Judy will be chastised for causing him so much trouble.  Why couldn’t she just let bygones be bygones.  What of the children?  Now their daddy is in jail!  And if Judy leaves Jared (which she should!), Jared will become a victim to be pitied by the rest of the church as Christians quote “God hates divorce,” – a phrase, incidentally, that is not really in the Bible.  Check Malachi 2:16 in the ESV for confirmation.

***

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13 Comments

  1. shepherdguardian

    I have such empathy, compassion and mercy for these victims. The false narrative of abusers is usually far more easily believed than the true narrative of the victim.

    How many times must we hear, “Well, what was your part?” or “What did YOU do to make him do that?”

    The visible church, psychology, education, etc. are all being “fooled-enablers” of abusers.

    So sad!

    S/G

  2. Kay

    My husband demanded that we go to marriage counseling. He thought that if he could just fix me, his problems would be solved. This came out in counseling. But the counselor was good and and accurately identified and named my husband’s abusive behaviors. My husband, after each counseling session went into a rage; I had to spend a total of five days away from home in order to be safe. I told the counselor what was going on. (He later refused to do more counseling until my husband got individual help. He then told me to come back for plan B, but he wouldn’t put me at risk by continuing with the sessions).

    My husband’s response after we got home was that I needed to “shut my mouth.” He then threatened to talk to everyone at church about me. The next Sunday, when I walked out of church, he was in the parking lot talking to my pastor and former pastor. He was slandering me, saying embarrassing and horrible things about me. The pastor told my husband that he supported both of us, but that he disagreed with me on some things such as submission.

    I was so upset that I left thinking that I would never be safe again and that I would have to disappear forever , but instead, I went home and got the protective order that I had served on my husband. I brought it back, and with shaking hands, gave it to the pastor. I told him that my husband had admitted in court to the things that were written in the protective order. (My husband had admitted to trying to drag me up the stairs by my hair, pounding my head on our wooden steps, and putting his hands around my throat while having a discussion with himself about whether or not he should kill me.) He looked at it and said, “this is just a paper,” and handed it back to me.

    I could tell that he was inclined to support my husband over me, but I was fighting for my life, so I went to his wife. Thankfully, she listened, and eventually, through her, I was able to speak to my pastor (in my mind, he was no longer my pastor). This took hours and a tremendous amount of energy and courage, but I felt I didn’t have any other choice. My husband had correctly identified my pastor’s prejudices and appealed to them. If it wasn’t for the pastor’s wife, things would have turned out so differently. I really would have had to disappear because my church was the only support system I had. When I went to bed that night, my heart would start racing and I couldn’t breather every time I thought about the incident in the parking lot. I realized that just thinking about it caused me to have a panic attack.

    To be fair to the pastor, he has been apologetic and more open to hearing me, but until I see something radically different in his theology, I cannot consider him my pastor. In the past, he preached on a husband’s authority and the duty of the wife to submit while my husband was seated next to me. This caused me so much grief, and when I tried to talk to him, he silenced me, dominating me with his voice. His own daughter has been divorced twice, both times because of domestic violence.

  3. kim

    My heart goes out to the lady from the excerpt, and all the others who suffer abuse. It is especially chilling when those who are perpetrating the abuse claim to be Christians, have leadership positions in the church, etc. I know some of those on this site are currently suffering and I just want to extend my prayers and love to you. I ask God to protect you and to provide a means of escape from the abuse.

  4. This was my experience with my ex’s physical assaults too. He sustained scratches when he assaulted me and sometimes that was all there was to show a physical altercation had occurred. He turned it on me for years saying that if I called police he would have me arrested. By God’s grace I realized those scratches were my evidence that assaults had taken place and when I did finally go to police, my ex was arrested and removed from the home.

  5. sheisovercoming

    When my daughter was quite young, she had a surgical procedure to correct […]. After the surgery, she had a hard time with her digestion. … I was told whatever I did, don’t give her [X].
    Immediately upon going home, my then husband (monster) gave her X. He knew the doctor didn’t really mean that.

    During this time, my little girl lost weight. She was hungry and in pain. One night, the monster was screaming at my sobbing child while force feeding her [Y and Z]. I kept trying to get her to stop screaming at our daughter and telling her that he should not feed [Y] to a child that young. He wouldn’t listen. He was angry because our daughter’s cries were disturbing his sleep. Finally, monster went to sleep, and I was able to comfort my daughter to sleep.

    The next morning, I tried to feed some [food that was within the doctor’s guidelines] but she had a bad reaction. I took her to the pediatrician. She examined her and calmly told me I needed to take her back to the hospital where she had the surgery (that hospital was quite a long way away). …. She called the hospital ER, and they were on alert that we would be coming.

    I went home to pack for an extended stay as I was not going back home to that monster until my daughter was better. My husband got wind of what I was doing. The Monster came home, asked what the doctor said, and knew he could fix the situation. He started force feeding our daughter [and she kept having awful reactions]… I kept trying to get him to stop, telling him what the doctor said. Monster wouldn’t stop and didn’t want me to leave the house. I kept packing and decided I may have to call the police to get out of that house, but I am getting out with my children.

    We finally were able to leave. Monster calling me to tell me to turn around and go back home.

    When we arrived at the hospital, the doctor’s said they had expected us hours earlier and were ready to call authorities. (I am grateful someone would have) My daughter was extremely unwell. […] I received a lecture for feeding a little child something which I had never fed her. [ Her problem had been brought to this severe crisis by what the monster had been feeding her.]

    After the hospital had done their investigation to work out what was wrong, Monster came down the hall laughing and joking with the doctor. I remember watching that and thinking that he could charm his way out of anything, and no one would ever believe me. And that was just what happened when we finally fled for good.

    • Hi sheisovercoming,
      I disidentified your comment. Please read it and check it. If you feel that you could be at increased danger from even this disidentified version being published on the blog, please email TWBTC. We can remove the comment at any time, at your request.

      TWBTC’s email is twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

  6. Anotherone

    I have a similar story– just different circumstances. Our daughter had left her husband because of abuse. He showed up in our driveway raging at my husband. Because of his martial arts training, I feared for my husband’s life. I called a police officer who lives nearby and who knows our now ex-son-in-law. He immediately flipped into a charming, friendly person. It was unbelievable how he could change so fast! Our daughter got a restraining order and he did a number on our church….. We had to leave because they would not ask him to leave— he was very sorry you know– a changed man! Three years later we are still churchless … Who would have thought at this time in our lives we would have no church to go to? Of course, he is no longer there either.

  7. Renewed Spirit

    When they flip into the ‘charming’ person – is that a sign of psychosis or insanity?

    • shepherdguardian

      Sadly, it is neither. It is a calculated response, practiced many years, to fool the unknowing into believing and accepting their false facade.

    • Jeff Crippen

      It’s a sign of just plain evil.

    • It’s an abuser’s tactic – and to add as Ps. Crippen said – it’s an evil tactic.

      • bright sunshinin' day

        Yes, a calculated evil tactic…my peace is that it does NOT fool God.

    • When they flip into the ‘charming’ person – is that a sign of psychosis or insanity?

      It’s neither psychosis nor insanity. It is deliberate deceit. They intentionally put on their ‘charming’ persona to manipulate the impressions of others.

      A person who is having a psychotic episode is not able to switch their insanity on and off for different audiences. An abuser is always in control – able to switch their presentation for different audiences. That’s the big difference.

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