A Cry For Justice

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

FAQ Highlight — If I tell people about my husband’s abusive behavior, am I gossiping?

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“When a victim starts disclosing what the abuser has been doing and asks for help, abusers and their allies commonly accuse the victim of gossiping. Abusers want their evil to remain in the darkness. Evil loves darkness. The gossip charge is made to support the cloak of secrecy and to shut victims up. If you expose the evil, you are charged with gossip and with lying.” [Barbara Roberts, from the post The false accusation of gossip ]

For more posts about gossip see our FAQ page:
 If It tell people about my husband’s abusive behavior, am I gossiping?

 

8 Comments

  1. LH

    I was told to stop gossiping, and that if I wasn’t careful in what I said about my (then) husband I could be brought up on charges by the church because he had been an elder there. Thankfully I’ve been out of that fake marriage for over 10 years now, and I have been getting my voice back and growing stronger, and wiser (esp thanks to A Cry For Justice) in what to say to Christians about the abuse I went thru and how the Church ought to respond.

    I was told the first time we went to our pastor for counseling, that verbal abuse is not in the Bible. Now that I’m out of the fog, I see the evil of it dealt with in many places in the Bible. In my morning devotions this morning there were many verses dealing with the evil of lying lips in the chapter of Proverbs that I read. (I was also reading from Exodus; every time I read about God saving His people from their slavery in Egypt I thank Him for delivering me from the slavery of an abusive marriage.)

  2. Suzan

    As a christian person who has been the victim of spousal abuse…. and whose children have been abused i say be careful about who you tell. Yes you need to tell the right people so you can get the right help…but by and large the average church member is probably not the right source of help. Most people are not trained and don’t have a clue. That’s not saying they are bad, just that they aren’t the right source of help. So if you continue telling ill equipped people yes they will “gossip” or “share their concerns,” yes they will offer unqualified advice, and they won’t have the tools to respond appropriately. I’d say tell your pastor who should have some kind of idea on where to source help, consider the pastors advice and move forward. Sometimes in trying to source help from the wrong sources it does come across in a way we wouldn’t imagine or even desire.

    • standsfortruth

      I told my pastor- First- about the abuse only to have him tell the congregation afterwards to shun me for not submitting to my abusive husband.
      Of course he believed my husbands story that I was crazy, menopausal, unforgiving bitter and you name it.
      All this after sacrificing so much of my time support and efforts in support of this church.

    • Hi Suzan, welcome to the blog.:)

      In our observation, based on hearing countless stories from victim/survivors of domestic abuse, many pastors do NOT have any idea where to source help for that issue. Many pastors give poor advice to victims, advice which ends up compounding the problems that the victim faces.

      But I know you meant well in writing your comment. And you’re suggestion to “Be careful who you tell” is spot on! We often encourage victims to give credit to their gut feelings about who to tell.

      Since this is your first comment on the blog, I’d like to invite you to read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      Again, welcome!

  3. MarkQ

    My wife and I were talking one day after a sermon where our pastor mentioned gossip. He didn’t really define it, and it left a bad taste in our mouths. We talked a bit about it and we came up with a definition that has seemed more and more applicable as time has gone on.

    Gossip is sharing someone else’s story without permission.

    Sharing my own story is not gossip. If someone abused me, telling other people that he abused me is not gossip.

    Sharing something that I have not confronted the abuser for is not gossip. I used to think that gossip was saying something behind a person’s back that I would not say in front of their face, but the more I understand abusive tactics, the more I understand the foolishness of this. For example, a child who is abused might be in danger confronting the abuser. I was in similar situations where I was rightly afraid of confronting abuse, and there were situations where I was too emotionally weak.

    Sharing someone else’s story is not gossip, provided that story is public, or I have permission. My pastor does share stories sometimes, but he either receives permission, or he changes the details such that a person not intimately involved would not be able to identify who he is speaking about.

    • Not Alone

      Thank you for posting this. I have been endlessly condemned for supposedly “gossiping” by simply asking (what I thought was) Godly older women in the congregation whom I thought were mature in their walk with the Lord on what I should do with all the abuse that I had been enduring at home, and how to cope.

      At that point, I was still looking for a way to submit to all the unreasonable irrational crazy-making demands and treatment I was receiving. Of course, most either said I’m praying for you, or I don’t know what to say. Only two told me I should leave, but at that point I truly thought I was supposed to stay despite all this, and couldn’t even begin to imagine how to separate at that time. I was somehow still trying to figure out a way to make it all work.

      Most people in that congregation believes this type of thing is gossiping. They don’t do the whole “carry one another’s burdens” thing because they simply don’t know how to. They believe in facades and not stirring the pot and everybody has their own life and we all are happy with the eggshells and let’s carry on with the parade and not disturb anything. Even the ladies study on biblical womanhood was basically telling all these women that “if you say more than ‘please pray for me’, you are gossiping, which is a wicked divisive sin”. It is shameful to actually expose struggle, suffering, pain, or weakness in these circles. Do you see how devoid of love that is? Every individual is isolated and trapped and it’s every man for himself that way. The devil sure has his pickings in that type of environment.

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