I have followed the story of Saeed Abedini, the Iranian-American pastor who had been imprisoned in Iran since September 2012, but who has since been released. The campaign to have him released was #FreeSaeed on Twitter.
I was even more interested in his wife’s story. Late in 2015, Naghmeh Abedini shared through emails that she had been suffering from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse from her husband. A few weeks later she apologized for sending those emails. She stated that she was under a lot of stress, that she was still supporting her husband and working for his release, and that she had established boundaries for herself. It seemed like she was going to try to make this work, hoping that Saeed could be healed of his problems.
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My reaction to this story is a strong one. If you read Why Imprisoned Pastor’s Wife Kept Her Marital Abuse a Secret… Until Now, you will see the impossible opposition Naghmeh was and probably still is up against. Just read the comments! There are just twelve comments with only one supporting Naghmeh, which suggests to me that the comments were closed due to the potential increase in the nastiness of the reactions to Naghmeh’s speaking up about her abuse.
This is not new to me nor is this topic new to my blog. I know many women who have spoken up about their abuse at the hands of their Christian husbands, even Christian leaders, only to have all the gates of hell prevail against them to be silent.
Marital abuse is one of the most unreported crimes. It is especially so in religious groups. Godly women should not complain, often don’t realize they are being abused but are just being submissive to the head of the household, should not bring disrepute on the church or a Christian leader, should suffer silently like a lamb to the slaughter, and should always find a way to fix the problem rather than run away from it.
It seems to me she must have received some kind of counsel on how to move forward. Her Facebook update in December suggests this. Who knows what’s going on behind the scenes? But her report certainly threw a wrench into the evangelical community, and I think a necessary one.
I admire Naghmeh for speaking up. It took a lot of exasperation or courage or both. I hope she is now walking or soon will walk in the freedom she deserves.
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