By Danni Moss
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[To read all the articles in this series, see Is Dr. James Dobson’s Advice to Abuse Victims Dangerous, Series. A link to the next article is provided at the conclusion of this one.]
8. “She should not return home until the counselor concludes she will be safe…” Unfortunately, Dobson goes downhill at a fast clip after he hits “negotiation.” Next he leaves the time and terms of reconciliation in the hands of the counselor. What???
Let me state the obvious here – if Dobson’s suggestion were adopted as a policy of churches, abusers would know all they have to do is jump through the counseling hoop and they get their victim back under their control. Any abuser can “play” a Christian counselor.
Christian counselors operate under a mistaken confidence that they know what they’re doing with abuse and then attempt to address it through the avenue and principles of marital counseling, while perhaps tacking on a little abuse adjustment. This is grossly erroneous. And a “Christian” abuser can tie them up in knots from the very first moments of the very first counseling session – I guarantee it. I’ve watched it happen again and again.
The next thing you know that counselor will be telling the victim to return to her abuser because the abuser plays a perfect game. And the church becomes a de facto abuser in the hands of the victim’s abuser.
In Dobson’s decision to leave the terms and timing of reconciliation in the hands of the counselor, rather than the victim, he has just demonstrated that victims of abuse are still not safe in the church, even with his significant attempts at approving existing church practice and policy.
You can see the entire original exchange and related posts here: