Domestic Violence and The Church

My name is Emily Omondi.

A member of the body of Christ.

A woman who went through abuse and has been creating awareness on matters domestic violence by sharing my experiences and lessons learnt.

As I write this am a submitted representative of the church.

I have been reading different rants/opinions/ advice/ mockeries…..and all that has risen after our late sister Osinachi’s demise. I have ranted myself.

I have taken breaks to cry, it has broken and traumatized me. But this matter here touches the church that I represent, and so even in the pain and panics we still have to face it.

I write this because I consider church as family.

I have always considered church to be the one in Acts chapter 2:42-47.

Another family member’s need is my need, and seeing beyond the surface is very important for me.

If a family member feels unsafe in the fold I make it my responsibility to know why and how I can help. If a sheep is broken, I help them stand and steady them till they’re able to stand.

Before I got the courage to speak about domestic abuse I would see photos, videos of the victims that died in the hands of their abusers and I’d be shocked, shed a tear then say a small prayer for them and press pass.

And again emotional, financial, sexual abuses are very hard to speak of and the victim will die slowly unless something snaps them off the cycles.

Before, I didn’t have the same Zeal I have today to speak about abuse until I experience it first-hand. Until I went through the pain of seeing my children shattered. Until I experienced rejection that comes with separation and divorce even if one goes through domestic violence.

The pain gave me a voice to speak even if am my only audience.

I was in church the whole of my marriage life, so my cycle was church. And today when I see Christians say, no one should point a finger at church and these deaths are still happening I shudder.

Pray that it doesn’t knock your door or your relative’s.  The same way we talk about people with HIV, victims of rape blaming them because we have not experienced it.

I love marriage even today.

I prayed and fasted for it, I sought counsel, we even went for stay cations away from the children to square things, and I orchestrated all the means that would birth a peaceful marriage. I did things. There’s always a partner that wants it than the other. I wanted marriage, I loved and cherished it.

I remember one weekend I was fasting then I get a call that a couple I knew wanted to separate, I didn’t proceed with my classes that morning. I spent the whole day talking and praying with the couple, yet I was weak physically. I prayed until I couldn’t pray anymore.

With the help of God I had reconciled many marriages that still stand today, the couples know it. My heart was for marriage and is still for marriage.

Then when I could no longer bear the burden of running around seeking counsel to have a good marriage, it ended. The abuse graduated to physical here I am still a born again Christian and  separated.

Since my Separation I have sat on reconciliation tables, I was a church person so the mediators would definitely be Christians. I respect them even now as I share this. The language that was mostly spoken was “Emily you need to go back to your husband”.

Today I don’t want to share of the things Christians have told me ever since I got separated.

But there’s one conversation I need to share.

A lady mediator told me “Emily forgive your husband and go back”

Then I asked her,

“Have you ever been abused before?”

“Have you tried making meals for your children, but you can’t because your hand is still painful a month later because your husband was in a combat with you “

“Have your husband strangled you before that you still feel his hands around your neck a year later”

“Have you gone through abuse?”

She was quiet then still asked me to reconsider her suggestion.

By now you know I didn’t, and it did land me in such unwholesome place. I thank God I still fell into His arms. I didn’t know any safer place than His ever open loving arms.

If we haven’t experienced domestic abuse as Christians may we sensor our words before we blame the ones crying facing the church. Some of us had church registered in our hearts as family.

In most cases the mediators feel it is a win for the church if the marriages are reconciled the reason for the marriage falling apart notwithstanding.

So today when I urge the church to speak more on vices within a marriage with the same intensity we speak about forgiveness, I know what am saying.

I know how the church won’t see the effects of abusive marriage on the children but see a family that should be complete and are living together.

I have witnessed the aftermath of domestic violence in my children, till now I deal with their pain and traumas.

I know how the church would be happy about the face value yet a woman is writhing in pain from within.

I know how the church would uphold the marriage than an individual, yet this sister or brother is the one that constitutes the church. The church would want a good name with its constituents in ICU spiritually.

Even now as I have written about abuse, I know the pains I have gone through because of Christians who have copy pasted my writings here and sent them to some other Christians who sent them to my ex-husband. And oooh have I faced battles because of this! Ooh I have been incapacitated in many ways I’ve not healed to even speak about.

So I know what am saying when I say, even after Osinachi’s burial, may the church incorporate matters domestic violence in its teachings.

May the premarital counseling also have a self-awareness/ mental health in it.!

May it be more than, Respect, Love & Submission.

It is way deeper than the norm.

It is ok to say that we have erred in this area and we can make it better.

And yes there are very loving members of the body of Christ, and we’re forever grateful.

~Emily Omondi

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