7. As a victim of domestic violence, my pastor and church leaders insist I must go back. I feel guilty leaving and think maybe they are right about how my leaving would not be a good example to others. What do you think?

I think your pastor is totally incompetent, and your church leaders need to get a good consultant to come in and teach them about domestic violence. Just don’t hold your breath as you wait for this to happen. Instead, run as fast as you can to the nearest domestic violence shelter and talk to the staff. See if they can help you locate a good therapist or support group. Read all you can, and don’t be afraid of the faith issues that are sure to come up as you look at what may be in your belief system that is keeping you further enslaved. Whatever you do, please do NOT listen to such ignorance. It can cost you your life, teach your children very bad ways of relating to others, and further traumatize all who are involved.

Dee Ann Miller is the author of Enlarging Boston's Spotlight: A Call for Courage, Integrity, and Institutional Transformation (2017) How Little We Knew: Collusion and Confusion with Sexual Misconduct (1993) and The Truth about Malarkey (2000)