Domestic Violence and Christianity: When Will We Learn?

***To read this post in Russian, please, go HERE.

By now many, if not most, Slavic-American residents have heard the gut-wrenching news of a beautiful young woman who left this world as a victim of domestic violence.

Lyuba Savenok became a well known name to Slavics across the US as people shared the GoFundMe account that was created to help her surviving children and family.

I have never met Lyuba.

It is very probable that our paths would never cross on this earth if her life had not been cut short.

And it is extremely unfortunate that the circumstances that made her name known to me and to others across the US were that she was yet another victim of domestic abuse and violence…

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Lyuba with her son Matthew (4) and daughter Vivienne (3) Source: GoFundMe

As I poured over the news stories related to her tragic death at the hands of her own husband, as I scrolled through her own Facebook profile, as I tried to make sense of the whys, I couldn’t help but feel anger and frustration coupled with grief and sympathy for her surviving children and family.

I felt angry and frustrated because the one question that plagued my mind since Sunday was: “How many women need to die before we learn to recognize that domestic violence is a serious threat to our women AND children, and that we need to take an honest look at ourselves (Christians), our attitudes, our traditions, our misconstrued interpretations of the Bible, and our stigmas?!”

Lyuba is one woman who suffered and lost her life at the hands of an abuser – her own husband.

How many more Christian women are continuing to live in abusive relationships? How many more are silently suffering? How many children suffer and are traumatized by witnessing domestic abuse and violence day in and day out?

Too many.

Even one is too many…

With all the gruesome statistics on domestic abuse cases, I believe there are many more cases that are never reported. (And yes, men can be victims too. Even in the Slavic Christian community).

Not too long ago, I became a member of a closed group on Facebook – a group that now boasts over 14,000 Slavic Christian women.

Honestly, with all of my awareness on the reality of domestic abuse (and other kinds/forms of abuse) in Christian homes, I was still taken aback at the number of women dealing with serious marital issues.

These are women who are reaching out anonymously, crying out for help, their hearts screaming with pain and searching for any glimmer of hope for a brighter future.

So many don’t know where to turn. So many are burned by negative experiences of seeking help in their churches. So many are not willing to go and seek help at their churches for good reasons…

From the account of this news story, Lyuba Savenok reached out for help multiple times. She filed legal complaints. She cried out for help. She sought help from the law, her family, and her church.

The grievous fact remains: for some reason all her cries for help were not enough.

For some reason she stayed by her husband, didn’t leave the abusive relationship, and now is gone from this life…

"You don't deserve what's happening to you. God doesn't approve of any man who beats, controls, or retaliates against his wife."
“You did not deserve what happened to you. God never approves of any man who beats, controls, or retaliates against his wife.”

Sgt. Donald Stewart, a retired police detective who spent 25 years handling domestic violence cases, reported that 1 in 4 Christian couples experiences at least one physical abuse episode in their marriage. He is also an author of Refuge, a book he wrote to help domestic violence victims understand what they are dealing with and to help victims flee from abuse.

Let’s be brutally honest…

Christian church members and church leaders can be the enablers of domestic abusers.

Church pastors are often unequipped to deal with domestic abuse reports coming from victims of abuse and violence.

The victim can be told that she just needs to “submit” to her husband, “according to the Bible.” She may even hear things such as, “This is your cross to bear” and “You will have a great reward in heaven.”

Church members (which may include the victim’s own family members) can blame the victim, telling her she is the one that is not trying “hard enough” to be a good Christian wife and that if she would only be more submissive, more loving, more gentle, more quiet, more this or that, would pray more, etc., then her situation would get better.

Is this what God’s Word really teaches? Or did we twist it to make it fit to our misconceptions and traditional ideas?

I grew up hearing church pastors and preachers hammering into me the idea that women are to submit to their husbands.

While this command does come from God’s Word, many sincere Christian believers have a distorted view of what “wives submit to your husbands” really means (Ephesians 5:22).

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Another passage often used by abusers to justify and defend their evil actions is 1 Peter 3:1-6.

Satan has always been very good at twisting God’s Word to achieve his own agenda “to kill, steal, and destroy.” It is no surprise that he does it time and time again. Unfortunately, history provides an abundant testimony of men who used (and continue using) the Bible to justify their own sin, a root cause of their desire for power and control.

Growing up, I’ve heard many sermons on how women need to submit to their husbands because women are the “weaker vessels,” because a woman’s judgment is flawed, because it was a woman who caused the downfall of the entire humanity.

How refreshing it was for me to recently hear one of my church pastors affirm what I personally always read and saw from my Bible!

When we read Genesis 3:6, we often hear something along the lines of “Oh, if it wasn’t for that Eve, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in today!” This verse along with 1 Timothy 2:13-14 and 2 Corinthians 11:3 are often used to justify a low view of women and to misinterpret Paul’s command for wives to submit to their husbands.

Yes, Eve was deceived. And yes, she was the first one who ate the fruit.

But while Eve was talking to the serpent, where was Adam as the leader of the family? Where? Why didn’t he protect her from sinning?

In fact, Romans 5 talks about how sin entered this world through Adam. Do not blame Eve for what Adam did after neglecting his God-given role of a leader and his wife’s protector.

That is why Jesus, the only sinless man, had to be born of a virgin, bypassing the seed of a man that carries sin!

Fascinating, is it not? (Explore this topic more HERE).

However, Eve continues to be blamed for humanity’s fall and Christian women continue to be blamed for their husband’s sin (domestic violence stemmed from their desire for power and control).

Stop it already! The blood of many women is on your hands as well!

As I mentioned above, submissiveness is often defined in light of Eve’s weakness, her supposed craftiness and womanly wiles she used to persuade Adam to eat the fruit as well.

The topic of wives submitting to their husbands is rather exhaustive and there is no way I can sufficiently cover it with even one blog post.

Moreover, this is not the intent of this blog post.

I only want to make it abundantly clear that the church often enables and covers domestic violence and abuse by misinterpreting and taking Ephesians 5:22 out of context. For more study on this topic, you can read “What Does It Mean For A Wife To Submit To Her Husband?” and “Submission In Marriage” and “How Should Wives Be Submissive To Their Husbands?” and “Six Things Submission Is Not.

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So, for those of us who may know women that are experiencing domestic abuse, what can we do?

First, a woman who is abused often doesn’t even realize that she is being abused. Brenda Brenson lived in an abusive relationship for 20 years before finally seeing that she was a victim who was emotionally and physically abused by her husband. She is the founder of Focus Ministries, a “Faith Based Domestic Violence Help for Women and Families.”

Both Brenda and Sgt. Donald Stewart were interviewed by kyria.com on how battered women can get help as well as how Christians can respond to this crisis. They also talked about different types of abuse – emotional, verbal, and physical – and discussed how other people can tell if abuse is taking place in a woman’s life. Read this interview here: “The Silent Epidemic.”

Finally, there are also signs or red flags young women can watch out for in their potential spouses.

Abusers don’t become abusive overnight. They are usually victims themselves, coming from abusive homes where they learned the behavior from their parents’ relationship.

I do not know Lyuba Savenok, her husband and what family he comes from. He may have been a witness to domestic violence as a child. Or not.

However, there may have been signs and/or red flags that Lyuba may have missed or disregarded for whatever reasons.

New Hope For Women lists these red flags as the following: (Click on the highlighted New Hope For Women link to read a detailed description of each warning sign)

  • Jealousy
  • Controlling Behavior
  • Quick Involvement
  • Unrealistic Expectations
  • Isolation
  • Blames Others For Problems
  • Blames Others For Feelings
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Cruelty to animals or children
  • Past Battering
  • Rigid Sex Roles

Finally, in her article “Confronting Domestic Violence With Love And Authority” Dawn Walker gives a helpful list of DOs and DON’Ts that can be used by church leaders and church members who are approached by victims of domestic abuse.

  • DO take her seriously when she comes to you for help. Usually by the time she is naming it or saying she is done, she was done years ago.
  • DO ask questions, listen attentively and believe her (unless the Holy Spirit clearly directs you otherwise).
  • DON’T tell her to be more submissive or more loving as a solution to the abuse in her relationship.
  • DON’T say “God hates divorce.” She will shut down and not trust you. She may even leave your church and never return.
  • DON’T suggest marriage counseling. She needs separate counseling for safety and autonomy.
  • DON’T send her to file a protective order by herself. This is an overwhelming process to face alone.
  • DO try to determine how at risk she is of serious physical harm.
  • DO help her understand that setting boundaries and allowing her partner to experience consequences is a biblical model of addressing oppression and abuse (Exodus 7-14).
  • DO follow up to make sure she and her kids are safe and doing ok.
  • DO have a list of crisis phone numbers, local shelters and an action plan to help her in any transition.
  • DO have a plan in place with church families who are willing to provide temporary housing for women and kids who may not be in immediate physical danger, but who have to leave an abusive environment.
  • DO be prepared with grocery or gas cards to cover her immediate needs if she has no money.
  • DO equip several key leaders who can come alongside these women and provide prayer and support during crisis situations.
  • DO commend her for her courage. Understand she is taking an enormous risk and has a godly instinct to protect herself and her children from further harm.
  • DO speak words of life and affirmation over her to rewrite the lies she’s been hearing.
  • DO offer her hope and purpose…she needs to know God’s got a good plan for her.
  • DO give her ongoing practical help…financial, housing, childcare assistance, and support as a single parent.

Leaving an abusive relationship is usually a frightening and overwhelming process for a woman. She needs to know that someone will come alongside her, that she will be loved and protected, and that God will not abandon her, but will stay close and provide for her and restore her as she continues to trust in Him.

We as the Church can make sure she knows this by bringing the evil of domestic violence out into the light, confronting it openly and taking decisive action against it. When we do this, we will strip away the enemy’s power to continue oppressing. We must recognize that as the Body of Christ we are uniquely and POWERFULLY positioned to be the Strong Protector who will end the tyranny of domestic violence, in individual lives and across our nation. Yes, it is a dark and risky place to go, but who better to go there than those who have been given ALL power and ALL authority to confront, protect and rescue in Jesus’ name!


Are you a victim of domestic violence or do you know someone who may be?

I am praying and hoping that this post will serve its purpose.

I am praying that you and I would be bold and courageous to stand up against injustice perpetrated by those who may be using God’s Word to justify their deeds or who enable the abuse to continue.

I am praying that Lyuba’s death will not be for nothing and that men and women everywhere can learn from her story.

I am praying that her life would be celebrated for who she was – a loving mom to her two precious children, a lovely sister to her siblings, a precious daughter to her parents, and a beautiful friend to those who knew her…

I am praying for her beautiful and innocent son and daughter to be healed from any trauma inflicted by the enemy, in the name of Jesus.

I am praying for the Holy Spirit to comfort and heal her family and those who loved her dearly.

We will see you and your precious son in heaven, beautiful Lyuba…

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113 thoughts on “Domestic Violence and Christianity: When Will We Learn?

  1. It looks like I’m a little late to the party here but would like to add a couple of comments. First of all, as a pastor myself, I agree with Tanya has said here. The church should be the first place those in trouble should be able to come to and we have failed miserably at helping many who are suffering from the ‘ills of our time’, including abuse, trafficking, mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse, homosexuality and gender identity…the list could go on. Our leadership team is fortunate in that we have many combined years of experience working with the homeless and other people needing help. We hope and pray that the church will become the light and refuge God intends her to become.

    Secondly, let me shed a little light on the ‘submission’ issue. In both passages that refer to women submitting to and/or respecting their husbands the writer starts by calling all believers to love and humility. For instance, in 1 Peter 2 verse 13, Peter is talking to ALL believers and says ‘submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution….’. Verse 18, ‘sevants, be submissive to your masters with all respect….’. 1 Peter 3;1, IN THE SAME WAY, your wives…..’. Then, in verse 7 of chapter 3 he says, ‘YOU HUSBANDS, IN THE SAME WAY….’

    We are ALL called to the same behavior. There is not one behavior for women, and a different one for men. How is it that most believers pull out the verses about women but don’t see the ones written to the men, that they are to act with THE VERY SAME attitude, love, respect and humility as women are called to?

    There is no place in the christian home for abuse of any kind, from any party, and if there is it should be addressed in the most serious and timely manner. ‘Judgement begins in the house of God….’. We should be an example to the world of safety, healing and hope. Unfortunately, it is most often the world who sets the example in these matters. God help us to embrace humility and live as Christ lived, laying down our lives for one another.

  2. It is human nature, that woman is expressing her anger by words (by yeling) and man is expresing his anger phisicaly (by beating the one he’s angry at). Any church is, teaching peopple to supress your sinful human nature and live by spirit. So to blame a church or cristianyty here is a very wrong thing to do. The problem is in the sinfulness of a man and a woman. If woman is not in close relationship with God and she lets her flesh scream at her husband, and her husband isn’t in close relationship with God and has no patience to hold his anger, his nature takes its turn and does whats called domestic violence. But how could this be prevented? Im pretty sure that if only one of them was in right relationship with God, there would be no such thing as domestic violence. And if both were right before God it would be heaven on earth. Personaly i never seen a husband starting beating his wife or any person beating anoher person when he/she was nice to him. It may only happen when we have demon pessesed person. But even that person wouldnt be able to tuch holy person.
    In the other hand if we have unholy wife that is driven by her flash and yeling at her husband but he is righteous, he would have anough spiritual power to overcome his anger and stay peacefull. But of course If the woman is nice and peacefull but husband is still beating her for nothing, that have something to do with his mental health, or demon possesion. He should be isolated from public, no question. But most of the time it is the guilt of both, the husband and wife. There is just difference in expressing anger by man and by woman. And often woman dont understand what feelings their yeling wake up in their husband. So any violence can be prevented by any of two. And you should use your part of a family life to keep things peacefull. That may use allot of humbleness and patience no mater you are a man or a woman. And you need to ask God for this qualitys. But that will help your childrenn to grow in full family with mom and dead. And will keep your life from destruction. Becouse the life with second, third or fifth husband or wife will never be the same as with first and only one. And mabe by the end of your life you’ll find out that the problem was actually in you. And its good if you will realise that and repent and save your soul before death. But at that point you’ll look back at your life and see only pointless ruins which could be prevented, only by you if you were humbled and asked for Gods help. Remember rewival starts from you. And it might be life changeing for your husband, your neighbors and mabe even your pastor if he drifted away from God. Every one is human. Stop blaming peopple, everyone has sinned… Get your self allighned with Gods word and everything is gona be good. To understand a lityle deeper needs of each other ill leave this 5 things i got from good sermon that matters the most for husband and 5 needs that matter the most for a wife:
    So for man 5 main needs:
    1. Sexual satisfaction.
    2. Support of his interests by wife.
    3. Attractiveness of his wife.
    4. Comfort at home.
    5. Praise. (Tell him how good he is at something)

    And 5 main needs for woman from man:
    1. Gentleness.
    2. Communication and attention.
    3. Openness and honesty in relationship.
    4. Financial security.
    5. Dedication to family and kids.

    Here is the test for you. Are you learning your needs or your spouse needs. Are you egoist or you love and want to satisfy your other half?
    If any of you not giving your husband or wife one or more of those main aspects than it leads to a chain reaction and he/she is not giving what you need to you. The end of which is complete unsatisfaction, fights and divorce. Who can prevent this? You alone, with God’s help. You see Love is a choice. You chose to love and take care of some one even if he/she dont deserve it. By loving and knowing what you need to give to the person you will not leave her/him indifferent. Love wakes up love. Anger wakes up more anger. Good luck, God bless you.

    1. I agree that spouses need to meet each other needs. However, I disagree, (according to your words) that if one spouse doesn’t – that opens up the gates for wife’s yelling and husband’s hitting. NO!! In a true Christian person, there will not be that kind of violent response. Looks like you are excusing the violence, “Oh, my needs were not met, so I’m in my rights to give the wife a good beating.” Sadly, that’s what abusers think, and how wrong they are.
      I had a big medical emergency, for almost 8 weeks I was not able to meet any of the listed needs of my husband. Well, except praising and thanking him often. My husband never abused me, but was the most patient and gentle man as he always is. On the other hand, my mom came home after giving birth and couple of days later my stepfather was choking her for not meeting his needs. Sadly, you’re like those Ukrainian pastors, who took stepfather’s side… So glad she divorced him. From the age of 11 until 16, everyday I prayed to God that stepfather monster will not kill my mom. I remember them having fights, with mom speaking softly and him yelling (sometimes I would interfere if mom started crying, he hated me… Then started peeping on me when I was undressing or showering. From all that stress and anxiety I developed chest/heart pain, and according to the doctors, my heart was healthy
      ) Oh, my childhood was very bittersweet. May God bless you, the victims of abuse. Please pray and find the strength to get out of the poisonous situation. Another point, don’t tell the abuser, you’re leaving. This is when the abuse escalates and sometimes murders occur. That’s why a another support person is needed.

      1. This is me, again… And for at least 2 years after my parents were no longer together, pastors were still talking to both about reconciliation. However, two older pastors with many years of experience (one in his 70s and another one approaching 90 at that time), told the younger pastors to leave them be (the ex-couple). The main reason: my mom got back with him one more time (under their pressure), but his abuse never stopped. So, there are people who understand, not everyone is in denial.

    2. If you read the original article about this case you would see that according to the police report the first time he hit her was during sex. You listed sex as a top priority for man… well she was fulfilling that need. But that didn’t stop him. He is no doubt addicted to porn and acting out what he has been watching (violence against woman).
      You are really naive if you think that if a women acts “right” and “perfect” she will never get abused! I think the opposite is true– it is the quiet submissive wives that are more likely to get abused. You don’t live in the real world. And according to your theory yelling at your husband is equal to stabbing your wife??

  3. Although this is a great message for pastors to hear I would like to make the point that perhaps a pastor is not the ideal place to go when in fear of abuse. Like it or not Pastors are simply not set up to handle a violent crime. Police and shelters are a MUCH better starting point.

    One should go to the pastor after they have separated from the abuse.

    Yes I know that isn’t that simple but it would be like going to a lawyer instead of the police. The lawyer could tell you what to do but until someone shows up with the force of law behind them the abuser will not change.

    One fi al piece here – the “wives submit to your husband ” is not a call to be a doormat or a punching bag. It is a call to husbands to be the spiritual leader of the home. To lead the way Christ leads the church. You can see this in the next verse where it commands men to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Faithful unto death.

    No one beilieves they are a monster which os why men who abuse their wives and children must be forcibly separated. Most stories you read about a reformed abuser only happens after law enforcement steps in. It takes that to get their attention enough to think that they are as bad as that guy in the news.

    1. Great point! Especially in light of all the testimonies attesting to the fact that some pastors do give wrong advice to battered women reaching out for help, further enabling the abuser to continue his evil deeds.

  4. Domestic abuse IS a problem. A HUGE problem. I agree. HOWEVER, what seems to be the political and popular response is to focus on helping the victim and punishing the abuser. This only tears apart families and continues the shameful trend of incarcerating citizens. Currently the US incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world. There is a system in place that was borne from VAWA (the Violence Against Women Act), which was enacted in the early 1990s and reinforced with the Obama administration recently, which moves quickly to shelter and surround the victim (mostly women) and coach them into helping to convict the offender. Victims’ Advocates are paid for by our tax dollars and their sole existence is dependent on women accusing men. They are so powerful that judges and DAs pander to them. And its such a political charged topic… I mean who in their right mind would speak against victims of domestic violence, which is the accusation when someone speaks out against the current corrupt system.

    Instead, why not have an accountability and coaching system for the entire family? Remove the victim from the situation and hold the offender responsible and accountable with a goal to reunite a healthier and successful family. EDUCATE all parties on communication and anger management and substance abuse (which often accompanies domestic violence). Its just one suggestion but I’d like to see more dialog about prevention and education for THE ENTIRE FAMILY, and not just sheltering the victim and punishing the offender. Or, I fear, the current trend to rip families apart and throw more citizens into prison will only continue to rise.

    1. Shannon, you bring a very good point, one I thought about as well. I am not an expert on domestic abuse, so those who are experts – correct me if I am wrong.

      I think one of the reasons why the batterer is always treated so harshly is because it is very rare when he/she goes through a radical change. I believe that is why most services that help battered women stress the point that “abuser will always be an abuser.” And that is understandable because so many women stay in abusive relationship exactly for that reason – they believe the abuser’s claims that he is changed!

      However, change is something that can only happen if the abuser accepts his/her responsibility, stops blaming the victim for his/her actions, and enters some kind of a rehabilitation program. Interestingly, as I did a quick Google search, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there are plenty of services geared towards the abuser. This article from Wall Street Journal does a good job of talking about the rehabilitation success rate of those abusers who enroll in a program: http://www.wsj.com/articles/domestic-abusers-can-reform-studies-show-1410822557

      I also see this is as a multifaceted problem. It becomes even more complicated when you take into an account culture and religion.

      As Christian believers we do believe that only Jesus can radically change a person. And there are plenty of testimonies of those who abused and even murdered becoming a truly new creation. Perhaps it is this fact that contributes to the belief many Slavic Christians have – mainly that professional counseling and rehab programs are not needed (because all a person needs is for God to change him/her). What those church leaders (ones that hold the above view) do not realize is that abusers are very good at manipulating, and that the abuser needs to want to realize himself that what he is doing is wrong. This is an extremely difficult thing to do, because abuse is a learned behavior and it needs to be dealt with professional help.

      The article I cited above talks about the “worst of the worst” of the abusers – the Intimate Partner Terrorist, a subtype of an intimate-partner abuser. “The man is obsessed with power and control, terrorizes his partner, erodes her self-esteem, wields financial control and is jealous and possessive. This type of abuser is almost impossible to change, Dr. Wexler says. The vast majority of abusers are men who perpetrate what is known as Situational Couple Violence. They aren’t out to dominate their partner. But they have very poor relationship skills and very quick triggers. A round of typical anger-management training isn’t enough to help these men. They need to commit to a comprehensive batterer intervention program, often going at least once a week for four months to a year. Experts say the best of these programs pair education with psychotherapy in a small group setting. The men learn communication skills. And they learn how to think differently about the situation they are in, how to change sexist ideas and how to tolerate conflict in a relationship without seeing it as an insult to their manhood.”

      So, to sum it up, there are many factors that further complicate the issue of domestic abuse like culture and religion. The last thing I want to do is give another victim who may be reading this false hope that will convince her to stay in a very dangerous abuse relationship. A woman may already be very conflicted about whether to leave or stay. She doesn’t know where to go, she doesn’t work, she may be shunned by her family and her community if she leaves, her husband is the sole provider of her and her children, etc. This is why I believe it is so important for our community to educate ourselves on this issue and to change the way we view abuse and the way we deal with it!

      Forgive me for the long response. You did bring up a good point, however. Many abusers are victims themselves. They do need help to deal with their deep-rooted issues. Jesus died for them as well. But they need to make the decision to take full responsibility for their actions, to admit their wrongs, and to seek help. This is an extremely difficult thing to do (especially for a Slavic male who grew up hearing that men are somehow above women). That is why part of the blame lies on the church and some church leaders.

  5. You can call yourself whatever/whoever you want, but if you don’t live by it, it doesn’t mean anything!

    He DID NOT love his wife. (Based on the action)
    He DID NOT honor his wife. (Based on the action)
    He DID murder his wife. (Based on the action)

    No matter what the situation was, murder is NOT justified. There are some exceptions, but they are EXTREMELY RARE.

    This is really sad and unfortunate, but it’s inevitable. People that don’t live by the Spirit, live by the flesh.

    P.S. Domestic abuse does not have a gender. A lot of emotional manipulation comes from women, which is also destructive, harmful, and goes against the Scripture, His actions were wrong, but let’s take care of ourselves and prevent this from happening in our community.

    G-d bless.

  6. This is why me and my children are NOT part of Slavic church anymore and will NEVER go back. In a way Slavic Christianity excuses domestic abuse by ill inerpretation of Bible passages. Wives have no voice and are told to forgive and suffer quietly when they reach out for help.

    1. They were part of an American church not Slavic. All races have domestic violence not just Slavics. And not all Slavic churches are currupt, though many are.

      1. Were they members at the American church in Minnesota where Lyuba was murdered and members of a Slavic church in Illinois where Lyuba sought help from? Lyuba filed charges in Illinois and moved to Minnesota. My question is then, Why did they move? Is it possible that they moved to Minnesota after being told by others that separation is not an option? Is it possible that since they did go to an American church she was finally getting enough courage and threatened him that if he doesn’t stop the abuse she will leave him with the kids???

        These are the questions I have for you Alex, especially since you say you knew them personally and want to somehow defend the Slavic churches at any cost…

        Again, I am not saying all Slavic churches treat domestic abusers victims like this but that this may have been the case in this situation and that similar situations happen in some Slavic churches (and American churches as well).

  7. If you’re interested in learning more about the Bible really says about domestic abuse of all kinds, especially the more hidden types, I’d encourage you to read my book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find your Voice and Reclaim your Hope. I offer lots of on-line classes and support for women in destructive marriages from a Christian perspective. I am a licensed counselor and relationship coach and it breaks my heart to hear so many Christian’s misunderstand God’s heart for the oppressed and misuse headship passages to mean “I get my way”. God does not value the sanctity of marriage more than the safety and sanity of the individuals in it.

    1. Thank you so much, Leslie!!! I have never read this book but just did a little research about it – a valuable resource for anyone, not just women who find themselves in abusive relationships! Here is an Amazon link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/Emotionally-Destructive-Marriage-Voice-Reclaim/dp/0307731189

      This brings me to yet another can of worms: mainly that many Slavic believers and Slavic church leaders shy away from seeking any professional counseling or directing church members to seek counseling. I am not trying to stir the pot even more. I just want to encourage women to seek professional counseling. There are many Christian licensed counsellors who have God-given gifts/talents and the knowledge needed to help victims sort things out and heal. Inner healing is also something every victim needs to be fully free and there are equipped people who can help them get there faster.

  8. I agree with many things that have been posted here, and this article is wonderful – thank you for putting this together with such eloquence Tanya. This subject has been very heavy on my heart ever since the news about Lyuba exploded all over FB. Domestic violence is an immense struggle…especially in Christian communities.
    I probably wouldn’t be wrong to say that many Slavic churches are weak and absolutely unequipped to deal with situations such as this one. Our people don’t know how to deal with “gray” areas, and therefore intense issues just get ignored. People say “she should’ve found a way out.. she should’ve asked for help”. But she did!!! Oh how I hope this will be a lesson to all of us…
    Unfortunately there’re enough male chauvinists out there that still think that subjects like that are attempts to bring forward “feminism”. I feel sorry for these folks – you’re missing out on life and genuine relationships (I wish I could say more).
    One more thought. Please understand that not everyone who comes from a Christian family, calls themselves a Christian, or even is a member of a local church means they truly are the followers of Christ. We use the term “Christian” so loosely nowadays, it’s bothersome. The fact that the murderer was from a Christian family means absolutely nothing. I agree that churches should be promoting and helping in raising fruitful and zealous Christians, however – we cannot hold the church (or family for that matter) accountable for someone’s state of being. Perhaps both could’ve provided better guidance along the way but at the end of the day – one’s relationship with God is one’s personal choice.
    My heart grieves for everyone dealing with this tragedy. My mind cannot comprehend how a human being can be so brutal. People don’t become abusive “overnight”. Watch out for symptoms. Help those who may be silently drowning.

    1. Just wanted to highlight something that a lot of people (especially in the Christian community) misunderstand: The term “feminism” means to advocate that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men.

      It does not mean that women want to take over or that men’s rights will be taken away. Feminists do not hate men or think that they are inferior or secondary to women (this is called misandry). Feminists do not want to oppress men or take power or privileges away from them.

      On the contrary, feminists believe that men and women are equal in value, and therefore, both should have the same privileges and freedoms. It is an attempt to level the playing field and ensure equality for both men and women.

      Some of the aspects that feminists focus on are:
      – Equal pay for women (in most cases, women are paid less than men, even when accounting for job position and experience)
      – Not blaming women who are victims of rape or other violent crimes committed against them (this includes domestic abuse)
      – Advocating for maternity leave and supporting single mothers

      The reason the movement is called feminism instead of equalism is because we are striving for equality but we have not achieved it yet. Equalism is the goal, and to achieve it, we need feminism (as well as other movements) to change our society into one that is egalitarian.

      I think that all of the things I mentioned above are opportunities and rights that most people agree women should have. And if you agree, congratulations, you are a feminist, even if you don’t like the term. Unfortunately, the term has been demonized by society. But now you know what the term means, so please, please, please use it appropriately:)

      (By the way, feel free to search up “feminism” in the dictionary to make sure for yourself.)

      And for those of you that study the Bible, if you’re interested, add feminism as a topic to look for in the Bible while you’re reading It. Our Merciful and Loving God is very clear that all people are equal in value in His eyes and that He loves us equally, despite our gender, race, etc. and most importantly, despite our sin.

  9. A request for everyone commenting under this post:

    I really do appreciate everyone’s input and respect everyone’s opinion. Therefore I do my best not to censor any comments. So far, I have approved all comments except for one that contained profane language.

    I understand that this is a sensitive subject for everyone. But I do request that all of the people who are commenting to use graceful language. If we won’t have the ability to do this, I will be forced to close the comment section of this blog post and I do not want to do that.

    Let’s use this opportunity to have a healthy discussion, without attacking anyone with rude comments or crude remarks.

    “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

  10. Women often go for men becuase of status and popularity.The bad guys are cool. My question is how the h*** you think like this if you go to church. The churches in MN are failing big time becuase people shouldn’t think like this. Ruslan Gulak recently commited suicide leaving a family of 4 behind. He went to church for 5 years and no one set him straight. Back to the girls, Just becuase a guy is cool or badass in front of others, you don’t know how he will treat you at home. It’s a fact, women put themselves into stupid relationships. The church is also failing becuase these are people raised by them and for somone to do such a thing shows that they didn’t learn anything from their parents, church, or community…instead of God and love in his heart he had the devil, that’s why he did this. He did not have God in his heart and his word on his mind, his sprit was filled with something else, becuase there is no other way to do something like this. Why are the church raising people with the spiritual growth close to 0?

    1. Way to blame women for “choosing badass men” and “putting themselves in stupid situations”. No one ever thinks this will actually happen until it’s too late. It’d be so much better for you to just shut your mouth.

      1. I am only approving this comment because I approved another one that did not contain graceful language.

        But I do request that all of the people who are commenting to use graceful language. If we won’t have the ability to do this, I will be forced to close the comment section of this blog post and I do not want to do that.

        Let’s use this opportunity to have a healthy discussion, without attacking anyone with rude comments or crude remarks.

        “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

  11. Tanya, the tragedy is unbearable and devastating, and really hits home as only by God’s grace and mercy I was able to leave a cruel, abusive marriage and alive today. Thank you for writing this very important article!

    You have very accurately described the circumstance a Slavic domestic violence victim goes through. I truly wish both Slavic leaders were equipped to correctly deal with domestic violence and Slavic women were taught what to do in these situations. Many of these stories would have been preventable!!

    I kept an abusive marriage a secret for 1.5 years from absolutely everyone because I was terrified of him, was shamed and thought I can change our relationship by following strict Christian advice. HUGE mistake. I did not even realize I was in an abusive marriage in the beginning and I was led to believe I deserved the cruel treatment and that he has the right to do whatever he wants to me because he is the “head of the house”. I was abused in every way possible, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. My life was threatened several times and with weapons! He brutally tortured pets. I was scared calling the police and greatly regret it. I was expecting death every day with the thought that I will get to see Jesus soon and get a reward in heaven, which are views that get embedded into us from the pulpit. However in front of church members, we tried portraying a perfect family.

    I heard I am sorry it won’t happen again, 100 times a day. General rule is these people don’t change. And if church leaders tell you to go back to husband after being abused again and again, remember they won’t be there for you at 3:00am when he has his raging episode of aggression!! Ladies, please realize you are not dealing with a healthy person, he needs professional help, you can’t help him!! Stop trying to please people, or worry about what everyone is going to think!! It’s between you and God!! Safe yourself and your soul!! It’s too precious in God’s eyes!! That condemning voice is not from the Lord, it’s from Satan!! Satan has always been very good at twisting God’s Word to achieve his own agenda “to kill, steal, and destroy.” Jesus Christ did not die for you to be tortured by a man who vowed to love you. He broke the covenant!! And please, don’t think having a baby will change everything like I did. Another HUGE mistake abused woman do. Do not expose your little innocent angels to the dark side of abuse!! Don’t let evil conquer you!!! That is not what God wants for you!! Realize your worth as daughters of the most high King and have the courage to get out of these kind of relationships.

    And please I beg you, take action, do not spend years just praying for your husband, get help for your yourself!! You got to get yourself and your children out of danger!!

    Do not be afraid, do not lose faith, do not lose hope, there is a way out!!! As abused Christian women, many are told that we are bound to love unconditionally, cover everything through blind forgiveness, exposing the husband is dishonouring and shameful, and women are to blame for. This is not true!!!!!

    I greatly thank God for providing me many Godly and loving Pastors, who protected me, guided me, supported me, however you will still get some Slavic people judging you and treating you like an outcast, siding with the male-dominating story or misinterpret Scripture, or simply not wanting the hard truth. Please find a good biblical counselor and Pastor that can care for you, direct you and lead you to a long path of recovery, because being abused for so long takes away a big part of you. You need healing from all the suffering, haunting memories and wounds. God is right beside you, He is with you. Do not fear. You are not alone.

    Unfortunately, most of these domestic abusers are supported by Slavic churches, and allow the abusers to continue their act of a “holy” person, when really they are stopping them for repentance. Do not get discouraged, because God knows all and sees all. The abusers are extremely deceiving and spread their poison, lies and gossip everywhere they go. I pray for the church leaders’ eyes to be open, so that they would repent for enabling abuse and would create safe places of refuge where women can come for protection.

    I believe God wants to use stories like these to empower other women who are facing the same evil I stood up against. I am certain my story and the stories of other courageous women will save hundreds/thousands of live!! Don’t give up.

    1. Your courage in sharing your story is amazing, Marianna!!!

      God’s calling on your life is to help other women become free and I can’t wait to see what He does through you!!!

      And I am certain as well that the Lord wants to use your story and the stories of other women who escaped domestic violence and abuse to save hundreds/thousands of lives! ?
      Thank you, God!!!

    2. Do you know how many times I came to my pastor to report abuse and they always make me feel guilty at the end. They start asking how well I take care of my home and if my refrigerator is clean. Really? Thats how they eliminate abuse? Thats how the retionships are fixed? Never once they offered counceling. Then I got accoused of going to American church because they don’t want to loose members. Of course I am angry. I greatly regret going to church and opening my heart. Not just they didn’t help but made my family situation much worse!

      1. So sorry you had to go through this… ?
        Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing!
        That is why having these conversations is so important. Praying that those church leaders who treat domestic abuse victims like you were treated would repent and change the ways they handle these situations.

      2. Irinochka, I know exactly what you mean.. and I am so sorry you had to go through this too.. It seems that the Slavic leaders try to create “problems” with the women to justify the mens’ behaviour and SIN that is killing in the family. Some Slavic leaders even try to manipulate you saying you do not pray enough, you don’t have enough faith etc. and really push on the women trying to make them feel worthless, when none of those are the case. They don’t realize that many of these women start having suicidal thoughts from lose of hope. This is a real thing!!

        I am just very saddened how many Slavic leaders have such a hardened heart towards abuse and women. And rather maintain their image than show love to vulnerable, pleading for help women. English churches are much more equipped in this matter, and take it extremely serious. They take measures to ensure you and children are safe and cover you with so much love and care. A verse in Corinthians always pops up in my head in situations like these, “you have thousands of teachers, but few Fathers.” Few can really feel your pain, help you and biblically guide you. And remember, Jesus cares for your emotional just as much as our physical states. That’s why He first told the paralyzed man, “your sins are forgiven.” Ladies, please don’t be doormats for your husbands, you are just taking part in his sin and allowing it to grow more fast and intense. You are fulfilling the plans of Satan, not God.

        I am so happy that articles like this are written to shine light in this dark, and secretive area. I truly wish I had came across conversations like these before.. I would have saved myself a lot of pain, excruciating suffering and health earlier. It’s so important to educate both men and women about this. Thank you!!

  12. There is no excuse for violence, ever! It does not matter what someone said or did. As Christians we are to be self-controlled. If my daughter or daughter-in-law or friend or neighbor ever told me that there was abuse from her husband, I hope I would be that person to support her.

  13. this is pure nonsense. God didn’t command women to preach so please stop.

    get off the internet and get off Facebook. those two are your first mistakes.
    I smell feminism here

    1. With all due respect, it doesn’t help to further enable perpetrators by ignoring the issue. If one doesn’t believe that God created man and woman with equal dignity then I guess it doesn’t matter. However, I would say that anything short of this idea is not fully endorsing what the Bible teaches from cover to cover. It’s easy to pull one verse or maybe even two out of the Bible and apply it to anything you want, but that’s not being faithful readers/interpreters. God’s character is not the thing in question here, what is in question is the men (people) who are mistreating people. Jesus is our example and His word is our mandate. We must call sin, sin and repent of it when we do it and make restitution and get help.

    2. This to you is nonsense? A life was taken at the hands of the one who was suppose to protect and love. FYI this isn’t preaching. It’s called blogging!

    3. Wow, I feel sorry for your wife if you have one or wife to be. Sounds like someone that abuses a women would only say such a thing. How little are you to talk down to women like that. A true man would Never say such a thing.

    4. I smell an abuser here. This is exactly the type of mind set that abused women are dealing with. You seems to know what God commended women to do, what about what He commended men to do? At the judgment throne, God will not ask you what He commanded others to do, He will ask what YOU have done and how YOU have followed His commandments. God did not place you in charge of the universe to decide who should do what, say what, think what, or go where. Get off your high horse and join the mortals, of whom we all are, equal in the eyes of God. In addition, it would not hurt for you to examine and explore the Scriptures. Do the proper research to understand, and uncover the correct meaning and translation of the passage you are referring to. “That servant who knows his master’s will but does not get ready or follow his instructions will be beaten with many blows. But the one who unknowingly does things worthy of punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from him who has been entrusted with much, even more will be demanded. ” If you accept much responsibility, get ready to answer for it and be responsible before God as to how You handled His creation, be it men, women or beast. Don’t forget, that God is a vengeful God and He will repay to each for their deeds, be they are good or bad deeds. Be careful of the seeds you are planting, or harvest may prove to be a scary and dangerous end for you.

    5. Well it seems trolls exist here as well. Ignore this one people he’s only writing to annoy you. Move on to the next comment with substance.

  14. I’m Russian speaking and my husband is German/American. For the past several yrs he had started to drink and it got worse. he was so controlling demanding. I was a wreak. He never laid a hand on me. But the verbal and emotional abuse was unbareble. I turned to his family for help and they turned on me telling me that I was dishonoring wife. So I turned to my family and was told maybe you are the problem not him. And sweetie divorce is not an option. I don’t see his family at all and mine only when needed.
    He did quite drinking and got much much better. He still had a way to go and with Gods help he’ll get there.
    I did stick around cuz he promised to stop drinking and go to counseling. It’s been a yr now and it’s the best yr in the 10 that we have been together

  15. This is the dumbest post ever. There are stuff which are good, but clearly this person didnt know this woman or her issues and makes a whole case rounding up everyone. If anyone acts like this man did, i highly doubt he was christian let alone part of any religion or even had any morality left. Research your topics before you write anything.
    Rofl femenism for the win! (Thats sarcasm for all you ladies who missed it)

    1. The only dumb thing about this is people who blow off not bringing more awareness to domestic violence. Her blog post was well spoken, clear and right on point.

      I happen to know the family of the man who did this to his wife. He was raised in a Christian home, by the sweetest Godly parents, surrounded by a loving Christian family that attend a large church in the Chicago area. As a church, we are devastated by the news.

      The real point is that evil is real and we individually have a choice to give into it each day or resist it. We all can acknowledge that something is wrong with this world. This world is getting worse, not better even though we are supposedly more intelligent, thinking “positive thoughts”, “Coexist”ing, taking more medicines, especially anti-depressants, letting everyone decide their identity on how they feel that day, raising princesses…in a sense, doing everything human’s can think of to make it better.

      There is simply one choice, evil or belief in the only One True God who can and has defeated evil. Many will claim to have the answer but Jesus is the only one who is the answer. The Bible is the only book that has predicted the future and those predictions came true and will continue to come true.

      My heart breaks for both families. I can’t imagine loosing a child, especially in such a horrible way and I can’t imagine the pain of the man’s parents either. While I believe that the family and environment that our children grows up in is important, it’s not always an indicator of future actions. Either way the small children lose both parents. This is tragic.

      Women need to realize that an abusive situation won’t just “get better eventually” if they just stick it out. They need to get out, get help and we need to be there to help them.

    2. You would be surprised at the number of “Christian” men that sin in this way. Just because he doesn’t act how a Christian should act doesn’t mean he doesn’t call himself a Christian or is considered a Christian by others. If you read the whole post, you would know that the author mentions this somewhere in the middle. People at church fail to look at both sides of the story and often blame the victim. It’s not as simple as it seems. Victims try to reach out for help but other people say that it’s the victims fault and she should be better.

  16. I would love to see this translated and distributed to all Russian and Ukrainian speaking churches and mandated to be read from the pulpet!!! Especially at the отделенные churches!

  17. I left the church i had worshipped at for 15 years and worked a for 7, when my pastor boss told me i needed to be nicer to my husband. After i told the pastor about the abuse. And another pastor told me i “needed to pray my husband would get better” and that God commanded me to stay. Didnt matter that my kids were in danger, or that i was in danger. I walked out that day and didnt go back to church for 7 more years, after divorce and getting remarried to a wonderful Christian who helped me understand that God loves me more than He hates divorce. The church failed me, but God didnt.

  18. Great article, Tanya! It was so refreshing to read such an enlightened piece about (Slavic) Christianity. It’s sad that this is so unusual in our culture. Today, our churches (and Christians overall) remain ignorant, too stubborn to learn, admit mistakes and inform ourselves.

    I’ll be honest: when I first read the news about Lyuba, I wasn’t surprised. Yes, I was heartbroken but not surprised. I studied gender studies in college and know a lot about how common of an occurrence this is, no matter what culture you’re in. And it’s not a surprise that it occurs in Christian households considering the fact that we ignore so many problems in our churches, in particular when it comes to women being the victims.

    We disregard and shush anyone who has a different view other than the traditional one, even when this perspective conflicts with the Word itself. We are so rooted in the way things were and the limited knowledge that was available to our ancestors that we do not seek to find what God is showing/teaching us today, through new research and science (unless this new information directly supports our traditional view).

    Of course, it is essential to compare this new information to what God has already revealed to us through the Bible. But lets be honest: most (Slavic) Christians just read the Bible- we don’t study It like God tells us to- and when we read It, we do so lazily. We don’t begin with a clean slate and open mind when we open the Bible. No, because we’re not ready to listen. Because we’re not ready to learn. We come with preexisting beliefs and biases as well as the stubbornness and pride of our sinful nature. God has revealed to us many times throughout the Bible that we need to come with a heart prepared to listen to the Holy Spirit and learn- i.e., “Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

    I think one of the biggest reasons as to why domestic violence is not being addressed in our culture is simple: women are seen as secondary to men. Sure, we often say the right thing- “Men and women are equal; they just have different roles.” But in everyday life, everyday conversation and personal beliefs, we, both men and women, belittle and disregard women.

    We blame them (as you mentioned in your article and as Alex very clearly illustrated in his comment) and neglect their experiences instead of listening to what they say and taking them seriously. We don’t even try to hear their worries out as a society and very rarely do we admit that they were right and we were wrong. Unless we’re forced to address it, like we are now, after Lyuba’s murder.

    We think that doing so will build pride instead of bringing equality and justice to the community.

    For women, it’s hard to change because the perspective that we are inferior, second-class citizens has been so deeply ingrained in our minds from when we were born. And if/when women point out the Scripture that highlights equality (a theme that is extremely prevalent in the Bible), those women are chastised and deemed “proud” and “not humble.”

    For men, it’s hard to change because they are the gender in power. To change, it’s necessary to become humble. But humility is a difficult quality to strive for when pride is at the very core of our sinful nature. Especially when you have been esteemed from birth, simply, because you were born male.

    I am in no way saying that all men are like this; there are so many examples of men in the Scripture that are powerful displays of humility that we should all aspire to. And personally, God has gifted me exceedingly with a husband through whom God shows me so much love and humility in action. I am very blessed.

    What I am saying is that it’s difficult for all of us to lower ourselves and serve someone other than ourselves and our self-interests. It’s so easy to forget how Jesus became an example for us when He washed the feet of His disciples, who were also His enemies as a result of sin. How is it that the Holy, Almighty, Sovereign God, Who is the Highest and most Absolute, consciously decided to commit such a downgrading act? It’s difficult for us to value humility despite what the Bible teaches us, when the whole world is screaming the opposite at us every moment of our lives.

    Still, no matter what is valued out in the world and no matter what we have been taught to believe about the roles of men and women, God tells us to strive to achieve humility in action and make it so present in everyday life that it changes us and becomes part of who we are. I hope and pray that God gives our brothers, our leaders to wisdom and ability to learn from this tragedy and reform our churches, biases and beliefs.

    1. So perfectly said! Thank you!!!
      Ephesians 5 is such an amazing chapter. All of it. Before Paul writes his instructions to husbands and wives at the end of the chapter, he commands us to be “imitators of God” and to “walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (v 1-2).
      A little further down, right before saying to the wives to submit to their husbands, he says, “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (v 21).
      Unfortunately, people have always ripped verses out of context to make them fit what they want to preach and believe…
      Lord, have mercy!

    2. I agree with you on everything you stated. It is important for the Slavic community to step it up and discuss these topics openly. Also, 100% on point about studying the Word, instead of lazily listening with one ear and forgetting it when we step outside the church.

    1. Thank you, Nadia. It’s all by the grace of God…
      But I did want to tell you that due to your request and similar others I’ve received from others, I am currently working on getting this translated into Russian.

  19. This is so good and well said. It is so frustrating to see how the church not only ignores the victim’s right to escape violence, but actually pressures her(it mostly happens to women) to stay under the authority of the man.
    Last year, my friend (Romanian girl) was almost killed by her husband, he kicked her, dislocated her spine, punched her and he was strangling her when their son(4yo) started to scream and made him stop. She grabbed the kids,locked herself in the bathroom and called the police. The officers arrested him.
    By the time she got out of the hospital, the church leaders and some of her friends , even her father already started visiting her and they convinced her to retract her complaint against her husband.
    God hates divorce they said. My mum was also beaten all her life, the pastor said. Please don’t send the father of your kids to prison. You made him angry, what did u say to him? And I can keep going.
    Fortunately, the complaint could not be retracted, as her injuries were too bad and he was considered a danger for her and the children.
    I am a Christian myself but wt*? How can this be? Are these people human? They are for sure not Christ folowers.
    Anyway, My friend is healed now, she has full custody of her children, she got herself a great job , she finished her studies and became an accountant. She bought herself a car and she started dating. I also encourage her to start looking outside of our comunnity of “Christians”, as she needs to find a normal guy, not one that will see her as damaged goods.
    Sorry for the long story, I’m just very upset.

    1. Thank you for sharing ? You have a right to be upset…
      But please, don’t lose hope and never lose sight of who God is. He is a good, good Father who loves you and your friend and is greatly pained to see anyone hurt.
      Satan comes to “kill, steal, and destroy” but Jesus came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10).
      Not all “Christian” men are messed up. There are many godly men who love and fear God and who love their wives as Christ loved his church.
      I was sexually abused as a child. Broken, angry and bitter. God healed me and completely freed me from all that stuff. I never wanted to get married believing the enemy’s lie that I was “damaged goods” as you said and that no Christian man would want me. God gave me a godly man who loves me sacrificially. I respect him and love him and voluntarily submit to his God-given leadership in our marriage.
      Praying for you and your dear friend ?

    2. In my opinion, if a person is able to freely and with out thought or remorse hurt another living thing, be it human or animal, the Love of God is not in him/her. For God is Love Itself and if one is possessed by love itself, he/she is not capable of inflicting: pain, suffering, abuse on anyone. There’s your measuring stick. If on the other hand he/she does commit violence/abuse, he/she is possessed by another spirit, we call it evil spirit. I am of a belief that, these types of wolfs and foxes are roaming freely in our churches and devouring the innocent lambs. I am like you, am very frustrated with the churches view of abuse and women in general. Sometimes, I just want to get up and scream, “Are you people mad? Are you alive? Do you even possess a brain? Do you even know God? Do you even know His Love, His Word?” How could this possibly be tolerated?? This man almost kills his wife and they are over there trying to convince her to return. Does that makes any sense? Not to a normal person it doesn’t.

    3. When any pastor or whoever quotes ” God hates divorce” demand they recite the second half of that verse like I did the pastor who said it to me! He couldn’t. Malachi 2 :14-16 that passage is about God Hates men who abuse their wives!!!!! The second half of the verse is AND God Hates a a man who clothes himself in Violence!! In the passage men were dumping their older wives in the street for new young wives. The whole points IS male abuse to women … God Hates !!!!

  20. Not to justify murder or domestic violence, as bad as it may be, you don’t just kill your wife for no reason. They obviously had some sort of problems within their marriage, something that may involve money, personalities not getting along, problems with inlaws, lieing, cheating. The usual within many marriages. Most people that murder a close person don’t murder for no reason(unless on drugs or mental issues) usually there is a series of events that lead to it that cause that much hate towards the other person.

    1. Alex, thank you for your input.
      I do respectfully disagree with you, however.
      Yes, it takes two to make the marriage work BUT the abuser does not need a reason to inflict abuse (whether emotional, verbal, or physical). He/she just does. It’s all about power and control. As I also mention in the article, the abuser often is a victim himself (witnessing domestic abuse as a child).
      Please, do not place domestic abuse/violence into the same category as two people having arguments about issues like finances, in-laws, etc.

      1. Tanya, I applaud you for having the ability to reply to some of these idiots with such grace. I am enraged by these comments blaming a 23 year YOUNG girl for her MURDER!!!! I am certain God HATES ABUSE more than we do. If we hate it as sinners, how much more does our holy God hate it?

      2. I personally know his family and there is absolutely no abuse of any kind. He has the sweetest parents and great brothers and sisters. So being abused as a child isn’t the cause here.

      1. This will continue as long as the notion of “wife submission” does not go the way of “head coverings,” “women being silent in church,” “slaves obey your masters,” and other such stuff even from the New Testament that we happily (well, not always) dismiss one by one as culturally-contextual efforts to express some eternal truths. And, of course, it is by far not specific to the “Slavic” community. There are millions of even more conservative Christians in this country. You know, folks whose women walk in long plain dresses, white tennis shoes and head coverings. And they are all homeschooling, of course, lest the wife and daughters learn a gainful skill and be less dependent on their men’s mercy (just saying).

        1. I agree. Saintly outward appearance is not a reflection of a clean, pure heart. I find the more conservative, the more skeletons in the closet. Women are enslaved, by men who: marry them young, do not allow education, training, or a job. The only job is having and raising many, many children. Thus tying the woman to a stove, dishwasher and a washing machine for the rest of her life. What is such a woman to do? Where is such a woman to go? How is such a woman to support herself and her children, if she finds herself in an abusive relationship? Sadly the reason why so many stay and endure is because the answer to these questions is: “I don’t know.” The only place they can go, is a church, and we all know how that turns out and what support they get there. Thus, already knowing the result, they silently suffer and endure. Interestingly enough, when I would suggest a woman speak to her pastor, she answers, “Well you know what they will say, “Endure”.” When will we stop worrying about outward and start fixing the inward? It’s time to worship God in Spirit and in Truth and not in a fake mask of outward pretense.

    2. He was the cheater. He was just an over all angry person. She overheard him on the phone talking to his dad saying that this will only end with her dead and him in jail. He TOLD HIS FATHER. And he did nothing.

    3. Alex,

      There is NO REASON for killing anybody!!!!!! Everything that you mentioned may be killer’s excuses in his sick reasoning with himself, but they sure should not be mentioned by any clear-thinking observers. Unless you agree that she “deserved” to die because of some marital problems. Tragedies like that occur partly because of people like you who excuse such behavior and blame it on the reasons.

    4. I thought so too, but I was proven wrong after I got married to abusive husband. He was married before, but his wife left huge house, nice cars, family business, took kids and escaped to different state. I thought probably she was provoking him, she was ungrateful one, how could she take away the father from her 3 sons. I wanted to make a difference to this Christian man who could pray so beautifully, who loved going to church, I wanted to prove that not all the women are like that. As a Christian, I decided that it was my chance to do something kind and good to the person who suffered. I kept my promise, I was kind and good in spite of the hell I went through for years. Since he came from the strict religious family, he acted like a Christian, kind, loving person in church or front of his relatives. At home, he was a completely different person. He was very abusive physically and mentally, and if he told me right away that I would try to leave, he would burn my face with acid, make me disabled, or kill me with the rifle he owned. At first I believed him that it was my fault for his anger outbursts which could happen any moment day or night, I constantly was working on my self to be better, but still he was getting angry and could hit me even if he didn’t like that way I looked at him. Then I got pregnant with twins, and abuse became even worse. Later, he told me he was trying to make me to miscarry since he didn’t want the kids. By the grace of God, in spite of the hell I had to go through during pregnancy, and after I gave birth, my kids are healthy boys. I didn’t leave him because I knew he was able to kill me or even worse to kill kids to make suffer. So I stayed but I was praying and praying and praying, asking God for protection, I believed that only God could save me and kids. He continued to abuse me. One day, I felt that God took away my fear of him, because I was praying for God to take it away. I told him that I wasn’t afraid any more, of course he didn’t like it, so he started to beat me and choke me trying to make me cry. I didn’t feel any pain, I was just smiling telling him that I was feeling sorry for him. After that, his abuse changed, he started to hit me and call names in front of the kids. He found a way to hurt me still. Also I learned that after escaping to different state, for the next few years his ex wife was scared to look to the window because she scared he would shoot her. Since he was abusing alcohol, he died from liver cancer. So now I know that if abuser wants to abuse, he or she would find or create a reason to abuse. God sent me a wonderful guy who became a kind loving father to my twins and amazing supportive husband to me and during two years together, we didn’t have any single argument or fight. Sorry, I just wanted to share my story.

      1. Lisa, thank you for sharing your story! ?
        I would encourage all women to share their stories because some people continue to minimize the problem or ignoring it altogether.

        I believe these stories are empowering other women to seek help. I am praying that we do not have another Lyuba. So thankful that God is bringing these things to light and hoping to see a huge positive change as a result of these conversations! ?

        1. Thank you for starting this conversation and shedding light on this dark secret that women hide, especially Christian women. If they can not tell anyone, maybe they can read this or write here and know that they are not alone and they are not crazy and it is NOT their fault and they CAN NOT change their spouse. They need to know that there is a way out, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, there are good people in the world and God will still love them, even if they leave their abusive spouse and church. I think Slavic women need to start and organization, specifically for abused Slavic women. A place where an abused woman could go to get the right answers, advice, help, and support. Enough is Enough. Time to rise up and be the answer to many, many abused women’s prayers.

      2. I agree that responding nice can only aggravate the situation. Except that any guy who resorts to violence has his own problems that are not from anything the wife does. She may be able to make it worse but she is NOT the base cause!

    5. Yes but the cause in my own marriage was my ex had a guilty horrible secret before I even met him. His own guilt drove him mad with fear he did not deserve me and therefore would lose me. Lost me he did because of his out of control fear. Many of the reasons reside in the man himself alone. If he had truly surrendered himself to God we would have made it though even tho the horrible had to be brought to the light for everyone to see to do so.

  21. Great article, but domestic violence is usually caused by both parties failing their roles as godly husband/wife. We don’t know what happens inside each family, so we can’t judge from the side. There are both crazy wives that drive husbands insane and crazy husbands that drive wives insane.

    1. everyone is responsible for themselves!!!! no one can take responsibility for another’s sin, and no one can take responsibility for your own sin. This man is accountable before the Lord for his intentional, deliberate pre-meditated self-protecting act of murder of his wife and his child- his own flesh and blood.

  22. Hi! Thank you so much for writing this! After going through a long journey of domestic violence myself I have been thinking of putting something together as I have seen that many people were lacking on info and how to handle such situation. Now I see that somebody finally did that. This is so important, especially with abusers being manipulative in most cases (telling wild stories about the wive to cover up whats really going on) and people around don’t have the insight how to deal with that (or don’t believe the wive at all and keep the gossip going and pushing them back to their abusive husbands). Many woman don’t have the courage to leave because of how they are being pushed by the people surrounding her into staying and being a “good wive” and to stand by her husband and to avoid bringing her family into “shame” by leaving. And mistake number one: women being told never to report their husbands and to “bear and tolerate them” otherwise they are traitors. I am thankful that the ministers from the church I have been going to now, told me I don’t have to stay in an abusive relationship if its a danger to me or my kids. That is progress. Before I have been told to “stop fighting” (but it’s not actually a fight if just the one person does all the beating) and “keep your mouth shut” as a woman should. People often don’t realize how much they harm an abused victim by judging them and gossiping instead to pray for them. Also had to see how many abusive situations (especially between my Russian friends and family) were hushed down as a “family matter that is only between husband and wive” and not to be spoken about or discussed at all.

    1. Gina, thank you for sharing your story.
      I do encourage you to go through with your plan and continue to share your story with others. Only those who came out of domestic abuse situations can truly understand all the difficulties facing other women who are still in those situations.
      I only want to add: God’s healing is amazing and his love has no bounds! Praying for all to realize their true identity in Christ ?

      And thank God for the ministers who supported you!

  23. This is perfectly said with the help of the Holy Spirit! Thank you so much for blessing us with this article. I pray for women to recieve this and go and get some sort of help for her and her children’s sake! Amen
    Blessings to u all from the Amighty King

  24. This is so amazingly well written with wisdom and righteous anger. I can tell the Holy Spirit was pouring out His heart through you and that is incredible! Thank you for shining a spotlight on this topic. Too many Slavic men take advantage of scripture and get a power trip over it. They need to learn love the way Jesus loves. Jesus freed women from being treated unequal, Christian men need to be examples of that same Jesus.

  25. 1-The following article brings great clarity to the often misquoted & misunderstood reference to submissiveness in the Bible.
    http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/six-things-submission-is-not

    2-Hope for the Heart founded by June Hunt is a good resource to consider for this topic. Miss Hunt has counseled, written and spoken on this topic extensively. Hope for the Heart also as counselors available M-F 24/7 for anyone needing help. Here are some key links…

    June Hunt archived broadcast on the topic of domestic violence …

    http://www.hopefortheheart.org/responding-to-domestic-violence/

    Hope for the Heart main site…

    http://www.hopefortheheart.org

    ‘Why does he do that?’

    https://www.facebook.com/june.hunt.hope/photos/a.165692770189910.38733.100480416711146/896370410455472/?type=3

    3- For those sensing the need for early ‘preventive action’, I can’t recommend enough that you read the book ‘How We Love’ by Yerkovich and visit their website too. The Controller vs Victim ‘dance step’ is thoroughly discussed and corrective measures are offered.
    https://www.howwelove.com

    God bless you and keep you in love!

    I

  26. Leaved abusive relationship right before it was to late…after 14 years of marriage. Still dealing with this…and church on his side because just believe in his lie.

    1. You are a brave and courageous woman, Natalie!!! I can only pray and hope that other women would learn from your example and leave before it is too late…
      Be blessed, dear one ?

  27. There’s no such thing as Slavic-American or Slavic nation. Please stop using this insensitive vocabulary that groups together (presumably) two groups of people that aren’t even that friendly toward one another. Lyuba was either of a Russian or a Ukrainian origin, and it shouldn’t have been so difficult to specify that.

    1. Dominic, I use the term “Slavic” because it is appropriate. And I do not see how this is even relevant to this post. A young girl died because of domestic abuse. It doesn’t matter if she was Russian, Ukrainian, from Moldova or from any number of other countries in the big continent of Asia…
      Domestic abuse/violence happens in all communities by the way. I chose to use the term Slavic because that is a part of who I am as well. My father is Ukrainian and my mom is Russian and we live in love and peace with both Russians and Ukrainians (and people from all the other countries in the world). ?
      Blessings

    2. Dominic you are missing the point of this entire article. Current national differences will never erase the past. Ukraine, Russia, and many other surrounding countries are often referred to as Slavic or Slaviyanski nations/people. Today’s war and military unrest between the two larger groups brings tears to my eyes. Wikipedia link for Slavs is very helpful in understanding Slavic people.

    3. She was Estonian but what does race have to do with it? It wasn’t a hate crime, it was domestic abuse between two partners in marriage…

  28. Perfectly said Tanya, this is such a great article! The subject of spousal abuse needs to be brought to the attention of our Christian slavic community. Any form of abuse is sinful and wrong, and no women or man should stay quiet about it.

    Keeping Lyuba’s children in my prayers.

  29. Thank you for this blog. I do not know Lyuba but ultimately shocked to follow this story as I cannot comprehend how can this happen with the guy who went to Christian college. I think I unfortunately have to say that when they say Christian it is only seldom truly Christian, as those who born from God cannot continue sinning, deliberately. I pray with you for the future of these little precious children to heal. and may the church learn, as you said…

  30. domestic violence in my childhood home created a ripple effect of abuse to the children in the home (me being one of them) and let’s clarify people that violence and abuse isn’t just physical it can be mental manipulation emotional and even spiritual. It may say in the Bible for women to submit to their husbands but if the husbands are not submitting First to GOD than that doesn’t apply!

    1. Yes, April Joy!
      Thank you for sharing and clarifying. Abuse comes in different forms, all of them inflicting severe psychological trauma. But I am thankful that Jesus/Yeshua heals the deepest of wounds ? He is amazing!

    2. I think it still applies. No matter what man does we are to submit to husbands. However, Separation for safety of yourself and children is essential while the man is led to repentance, hopefully.

      1. Natasha, do you also believe we must submit to governing authorities “no matter what”?

        There are biblical examples of godly women who were disobedient to husbands and rulers (e.g. Deborah, Shiphrah, Puah), and they were blessed for it. God wants us to be obedient to him and his Word, but he also wants us to use our brains. God does not want women (or anyone) to be submissive to people who are doing wrong and harmful things.

      2. NO NO!!!! Women do everything they can to please their husband. When her hands are are tied is when she seeks for help!! There is no CHANGE to an abuser even after getting help for them. They will always go back to the old self in time!!

      3. Are you kidding me?? Really? I am sorry, but this type of advice is why so MANY women are staying in an abusive relationship. “No matter what he does?” Is that what it says in the Bible?? I don’t think so. If Christ is not his Head, then that man has no head, but only his own fleshly wants and desires. If there is no head, then there is no brain, just a headless horseman and you are advising women to follow that?? No matter what even? I strongly DISAGREE. Waiting for his repentance will take a lifetime and it may not even come then, speaking from experience.

      1. Amen to April Joy and Marg. Well Put. Speak the truth Ladies. Shine the light in the darkness of blind followers.

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