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THREE STRATEGIES TO PREVENT ABUSE

How to attack the problem before it strikes your church family.

For several years, Molly and her husband, Dave, had been struggling. Molly finally came to see her pastor.

"I don't know how to start," she stammered. "Things are really bad between Dave and me. Our marriage has been going downhill for a long time. Then, when Dave lost his job, we began to argue. At first, he just yelled a lot; then he started pushing me around. I can't handle it anymore. I'm also worried about the kids."

Steve, the pastor, was puzzled. Dave, an elder and Bible study leader, was respected by other men in the congregation. But Molly told a different story.

"After he got a new job, I thought things would change. But they didn't; they just kept getting worse. Lately, every time he gets upset about anything, he hits me. I haven't wanted anyone to know. After beatings, I've stayed in my house until the bruises didn't show. Other times I've made up explanations. But I'm tired of that, and I'm scared!

"At first, he never hit me when the kids were around, but now he doesn't seem to ...

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