By Clyde Davis: CNJ Columnist
They used to lock her in the closet for as much as an hour at a time, then send her to bed without supper. They said it was good for her soul. Next time, they said, she would listen better.
Whippings were not uncommon, though in truth they never hit her anywhere but her buttocks. Nonetheless, it seemed perfectly acceptable to use a belt for those whippings. After all, sparing the rod leads to spoiling the child.
One day of the week, they would dress her up in her best dress and she would sit for two and one-half to three hours, listening to someone talk about things that she did not and could not comprehend. She was, after all, just a little girl.
Later that same day,she would have to sit still for another two hours, still in her best dress. She’d had to wear that dress all day — one of the two days she was free from school — and woe to her if she got it dirty or spilled anything on it. Out would come the belt, or another trip to the closet.
Is it any wonder, then, that now,in her 50s, she has little or no use for organized religion?
Spiritual abuse. The family described above did not belong to any wierd cult, but to a fairly common denomination that reports itself as Christian. The parents love their daughter very much. She was, they were told and in their naivete believed, merely a strong-willed child whose stubbornness needed to be broken.
Spiritual abuse takes many forms and affects a variety of victims. Look up “Spirit of Jezebel” on the Internet. It is a code word phrase for some churches that believe women are second class creations, born with the predisposition to tempt men. (Gee, guys, what does that say about our ability to think for ourselves ?)
Like most other forms of abuse,I would venture to say that this form most often victimizes women and children. Yet, in doing so, all are victimized.