Kathy is an NWAWS outreach client who grew up with strong spiritual beliefs and a very close knit and supportive church community. She met her abuser at a church event and was quickly pressured into getting married when he discovered she firmly believed that sexual activity outside of marriage was a sin. After being married to her husband for a few months, he began ridiculing her spiritual beliefs while also manipulating certain aspects of her beliefs in order to convince her to do things that made her feel uncomfortable.
Her husband also quickly started limiting her ability to contact her family, friends, and church community. Kathy relied on her husband for transportation and he refused to start driving to religious gatherings until well past the time they began. When they arrived, Kathy was so late that the events were just ending or about to end. Kathy felt so embarrassed about arriving late that after a few months she stopped trying to attend them because it felt like it wasn’t worth arguing with her husband.
Kathy’s husband also made sure to always be in the same room as her when she was on the phone. She didn’t feel safe talking about how she was feeling or what was happening in their marriage in front of him, so she eventually stopped answering the phone. After several years of isolation, she was able to privately talk to a family member about the abuse she was experiencing at home and her relative encouraged her to leave her husband. When she asked her husband for a divorce, he refused and argued that according to her beliefs, she would go to hell if she divorced him. Kathy felt torn by this argument, and ultimately stayed with him for several more years until she sought services from NWAWS and learned more about domestic violence, including spiritual abuse.
Today, Kathy continues to seek outreach therapy to process and heal from her domestic violence related trauma. She lives independently, has reconnected with her family, and she is ecstatic to once more be an active member of her supportive church community.