The church must face its own role in violence against women

National Catholic Reporter

January 7, 2020

By Jamie Manson

Of all of the religious instruction classes that my mother took as a girl, one lesson in particular always seemed to stay with her: the day that the nun explained the church’s teaching on divorce.

A girl in the class asked the sister whether it would be okay to leave her husband if he hit her.

“No,” the nun replied. “Even if he beats you, you have to stay with him.”

When she got home from class, my mother told my grandparents about the lesson. Horrified, they vehemently disagreed with the nun and told her she would have to divorce any man who put his hands on her.

My mother has recounted this story many times throughout my life, and what strikes me most about it is that she, in fact, did stay with a man who hit her. He was my stepfather, and I was 4 years old when I witnessed him punch her. I was never the same again.

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