In Australia, Anglican Pastors’ Wives Are Speaking Out Against Spousal Abuse


November 25, 2017

By Sarabeth Caplin

Leaving an abusive spouse is never easy, but it’s especially difficult when your abuser is an Anglican priest and divorce (for any reason) is condemned by your congregation.

Anglican women in Australia are starting to speak up about the abuse they’ve endured at the hands of their priest husbands, the lack of support they have faced in their communities, and their struggles to rebuild their lives. One “safe space” to share their stories is in an online support group:

Jane is part of a private online support group of Anglican clergy wives in New South Wales who were abused by their husbands.

What stunned them when they first met for dinner were two things. First, how many of them there were, and how common and continuing this problem seemed to be.

Several had been part of Moore Theological College in Sydney — the training seminary of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney — when their husbands studied to be priests. All had mixed experiences with the church after disclosing their abuse: some clergy had supported them and pleaded their cases, while others ignored them.

All had disappointing or bruising experiences with a senior church leader when they asked for help.

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