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Is It Abuse?: A Biblical Guide to Identifying Domestic Abuse and Helping Victims (Strickland)

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P&R Publishing

For years, biblical counselor Darby Strickland has served women in oppressive marriages. Now she writes to anyone who wants to help, regardless of their level of experience. You will learn how to identify the toxic entitlement that drives abusive behavior and to better understand its impact on victims—including children who are raised in a home with domestic abuse. Ultimately, you will become equipped to provide wise and Christ-centered counsel and to empower and advocate for victims while navigating the complex dynamics of oppression in a marriage.

  • Reflection questions throughout chapters guide helpers as they process the material
  • Detailed inventory questions allow helpers to screen for different kinds of abuse—physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, and financial
  • Case studies, exercises, and comprehensive worksheets, including a safety action plan, can be used to train helpers and assist victims


Table of Contents:

Part 1: Understanding Oppression

1. Is It Abuse?

2. The Helper’s Calling

3. The Dynamics of Abuse

4. Understanding the Impacts of Abuse

5. Helping the Oppressed

Part 2: Uncovering Oppression

6. Uncovering Physical Abuse

7. Uncovering Sexual Abuse

8. Uncovering Emotional Abuse

9. Uncovering Spiritual Abuse

10. Uncovering Financial Abuse

Part 3: Upholding the Oppressed

11. Helping Mothers and Children

12. Supporting Steps toward Freedom

Appendix A: A Safety Plan

Appendix B: Ten Ways to Educate Your Church

Appendix C: Detecting Red Flags during Dating

Appendix D: Premarital Abuse Assessment

Appendix E: Abusive Argument Inventory

Appendix F: Who Are Domestic Abuse Experts?



Darby Strickland counsels and teaches at CCEF.



"This resource and the wisdom it provides are integral to pastoral ministry—and indeed to the work of everyone who is ready to speak for the oppressed and cry out for justice. I cannot recommend it highly enough." —Rachael Denhollander, Speaker; Author; Victim Advocate 

"A stunning work. . . . If you ever read a book about abuse in couples, let it be this one." —Alasdair Groves, Executive Director, Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation 

"The clearest and most complete work on understanding the dynamics and impact of abuse."  —Chris Moles, Author, The Heart of Domestic Abuse 

"Deftly equips counselors, pastors, and caring leaders to navigate through the difficult and often confusing narrative surrounding what's wrong and what to do."  —Leslie Vernick, Author, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage 

"An exemplary biblical counseling manual."  —Curtis W. Solomon, Executive Director, The Biblical Counseling Coalition 

"Gospel rich, well written, and chock-full of practical wisdom. Darby Strickland is a gift to the church."  —Jason Meyer, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis

"If you read this book before you need it, you will be grateful . . . and so will the person who is reaching out to you for guidance." —Brad Hambrick, General Editor, Becoming a Church That Cares Well for the Abused