SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS ABUSE
We often envision spiritual/religious abuse being perpetrated by church leaders or a group of fanatical followers of a religious or spiritual belief system. It also takes place in abusive relationships. It is important to know the signs and tactics.
- An abuser may claim you are “evil” and need discipline.
- An abuser may have exaggerated or distorted religious views of right and wrong and force those views upon you.
- He may use verses from the the book of your faith to exert male privilege and power.
- She may use verses from the book of your faith to claim she does not have to work.
- He/she may forbid contact with people outside of your religion.
- He/she may ridicule for you for your beliefs.
- He/she may forbid you from practicing your faith by banning it from the home or not allowing you to attend church.
- He/she may teach your children spiritual or religious practices without your input or against your wishes.
- He/she may physically assault you as punishment for going against the laws or rules of your religion.
- He/she may use your faith to extort money from you or coerce you to perform sexual acts.
- Spiritual / Religious abuse also includes forced ritualistic practices such as worshiping a god you don’t believe in, satanic worship, branding or marking your body or human or animal sacrifice.
Spiritual and religious abuse are forms of emotional and psychological abuse and can lead to physical abuse. Effects include withdrawal, anxiety, substance abuse, depression and suicide. There are also physical consequences such as headaches, ulcers, gastric disturbances, weight gain, weight loss and poor nutrition.
Abuse is never acceptable, in any form. If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, contact a coalition in your state or any of these organizations that may apply to your situation:
The National Domestic Violence Helpline 800-799-SAFE (7233)
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673)
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)