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Christian women in domestic violence often do not have the vocabulary for what is happening to them.

A guest post from Jennifer Pahl. Jen is a friend. We’ve published her story on REVwords which you can read here. She writes to inform and support Christian women in abusive marriages.

The information is used with permission and is sourced from a paper Jen wrote in pursuing her Masters.


I know that I did not learn that I could use the word “abuse” in my situation until I had been separated from my ex-husband for a whole year. Up until then, I just thought my children and I were not safe. I did not realize his actions and behaviour were considered abuse.

One of the first felt needs of women coming out of these devastating relationships is the need to feel safe. The most dangerous time for a woman is right when she separates and attempts to leave her abusive partner. This is the time when her situation is most volatile. She and her children need a haven where no one knows where they are and will be taken care of for the necessities of life.

Meeting Needs

There are so many practical things we can do to meet these needs. Some families have literally had to flee and will only have the clothes on their backs. Many of them might need toiletries, diapers, footwear and outdoor clothing, as well. It was so amazing when we had friends show up with pajamas for my kids. Something so simple, but what a treasure that was to us!

Women fleeing abuse will also have a need of practical support as they establish a new home environment.

They might need to make a phone call to the police to let them know they fled their house, perhaps a ride to the courthouse to file for a restraining order, or a call to a lawyer if she knows that she wants to pursue legal separation or divorce. Some women will not be able to make these decisions in the heat of the moment and will need someone just to walk alongside her until she is at the point where she is ready to decide what is best for her situation.

How To Provide

Chances are, she will be very worried about how she will provide for her family. Many Christian women have been told that their highest calling is to be a stay-at-home mom. If she has been home, it is very possible that she does not have money of her own, nor a job to provide for herself.

Who will help her care for her children while she finds the work she needs?

Who will help her decide when the children are safe to visit their father?

These questions will be racing through her mind, but every case will be unique. This is such a practical way the church can walk alongside a mom and her children in the height of this volatile situation.  It would be fantastic for local churches to be connected to community groups and shelters that are already set up to help women who are fleeing domestic violence.


I believe an important felt need for these women is to give them hope for their future.

This will come as they begin to heal and see how different life is when they are not constantly walking on eggshells or fearing for their safety. This is not a sense of false hope with a simple pat on the back and saying Jesus will make it all better, but an encouragement to turn to Jesus and look for small ways to find the joy in life once again, to look forward to a life free from abuse.

Please share this post. Do you have a personal story of domestic abuse? Join the conversation and post a comment below. Thank you.

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Christian Teachings That Support Domestic Violence

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