“Sometimes reality gets turned on its head, so that wrong becomes right and decency becomes cruelty. I have, sadly, known women who experienced this kind of inversion within their church, temple, or mosque. The twisting of reality begins when the woman takes the leap to tell people that her partner rips her to shreds verbally, or that he pushes her around physically, or that he degrades her sexually.

To her shock, some people react as if the source of the ugliness were in her instead of the abusive man. She starts to get whispered about, people stop smiling and stop reaching out to her, and she feels the atmosphere around her turn to disapproval and rejection. And instead of supporting her, the community rallies around the abuser, viewing him as the victim of a vicious, falsely accusing woman.

I hope this never happens to you. But if it does, it becomes deeply important for you to battle against isolation; when a whole community turns on you, you can feel as if you’re suddenly living on the moon. Reach out for help. Try not to internalize the message that you are bad; you’ve done nothing wrong. Your spiritual community should be there for you, and they are the ones who are behaving badly. Fortunately there are spiritual communities that come through for abused women. I hope you are able to find one soon. In the meantime, draw on resources and keep yourself connected.”

Daily Wisdom For Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft