I screamed but no one heard me. They couldn’t. My screams were silent–inside. I screamed because my husband dragged me across the floor over to the bed where he raped me. He had raped me before. The first time he did, I got pregnant but miscarried.
When I told my parents about the first rape, they didn’t believe me. “It isn’t rape when a man exercises his rights as a husband,” my father said.
When I told my mother that I was going to report the abuses to the police, she warned me not to. “You will be excommunicated,” she said. “And you won’t be allowed to come back until you promise to submit to your husband.”
I lived with the abuse for years and then, I decided that I had had enough. I went to the police and filed a report. They seemed surprised that such a thing could happen in the Amish community.
When the church leaders found out, I was excommunicated. My husband was furious and he threw me out of the house. I had no money or anything. I didn’t bother going to my parents because I knew that they would not help me. They would urge me to go back to my husband and beg for his forgiveness and submit to him as the Good Book taught.
With only the clothes on my back, I ran away. I trusted in God to help me and He did. I found The doorway to hope, an emergency shelter run by a Christian organization. There, I felt safe and free from a community where I never felt I belonged. I was living among people who liked to quote from the Bible and had the appearance of religiosity but they were a bunch of hypocrites. They made me feel like I had committed a crime when I reported what my husband had done to me. My husband was treated like a paragon of the community while I was the pariah.
I’m thankful that my husband and I didn’t have any children. My pregnancies resulted in miscarriages and one in a stillbirth. Perhaps, it was a sign that we were not meant to be parents. Our children would have been raised in a toxic environment.
I divorced my husband even though it isn’t sanctioned by the church. Getting a divorce meant leaving the Amish faith which suited me fine. I was relieved to abandon the faith which had shunned me the day I decided to put an end to my husband’s abuse.
Yes, I’m happy to say that I’m no longer Amish. And now, I’m a Christian, not because I belong to a church but because I’m a follower of Christ. That’s what a Christian really is. Someone who follows Christ. There are people who claim to be Christians but they aren’t. If my husband, my parents and the Amish community were true Christians, they would have obeyed Jesus’ commandment, “love one another, as I have loved you.” I wasn’t shown any love. I was bullied, brutalized and ostracized.
As long as we are both alive, neither my husband nor I can remarry. That’s fine. I don’t want to get married again. I just want to live my life the best I can with God’s help. After leaving the shelter, I found a job where the people are wonderful and the pay is very good. I’m happy. I live in a modest apartment on a quiet street. Life is good.
I’m thinking of writing a book about my former life as an Amish woman, spousal abuse and the lack of support I received from those who professed to be the people of God. As Jesus said, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” I will bring to light the things which many would like to remain hidden.
This story is fiction but it was inspired by true stories of domestic violence in the Amish community.