Item description for Behind the Hedge by Waneta Dawn...
Yearning for a warm and loving marriage, Yvette works hard as a housewife and on their Iowa dairy farm to satisfy her husband, Luke, and tries to motivate him to be a loving and caring husband and father. But hidden behind his charming public facade, Luke is critical and demands more submission. With the help of her friend, Delores, Yvette grapples with the meaning and application of Biblical submission to her husband, changes how she relates to her husband, and endeavors to correct the misbeliefs of their teenaged sons, Greg and Kyle. Luke indoctrinates his wife and children on the meaning of submission and obedience. But one day he goes too far. Will their marriage survive the storm? Will Luke become the warm and loving husband Yvette craves? Will their daughter, Tanya, learn to trust her father? And will their sons become loving and respectful young men? Waneta Dawn grew up on a dairy farm in Kalona, Iowa, and was raised in the Mennonite faith. She currently lives with her daughter and next door to her mother in Iowa. She has researched domestic violence, particularly dominance through verbal, emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse for over ten years. For two of those years she used curriculum from Duluth, Minnesota to facilitate the Batterer's Education Program, a men's group, which met one evening a week and operated through the Iowa Department of Corrections. Ms Dawn hopes Behind the Hedge will help heal and strengthen relationships to the glory of God.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Behind the Hedge?
Novel Fills a Gap in Christian and Women's Fiction Sep 6, 2008
When I was grappling with abuse and Bible teachings regarding marriage, I found a huge gap in Christian and women's fiction. Although abuse was talked about, no one put it into story form so readers could see and even feel the devastating effect non-physical violence has on the entire family. Thus, "Behind the Hedge, A novel" was born. It has been said that first-time novels are autobiographical, and in this one that is partially true: the spiritual journey is indeed a condensed and shortened version of my own story, even though my husband never ordered me to submit or referred to me as Jezebel. It is a Christian realism story which fills that gap in Christian and women's fiction, and shows how some Christian husbands use selected Bible verses to force their wives to do what the husband demands at any given moment, and to justify their controlling and abusive behaviors. This book is a must read for everyone, abused, non-abused, Christian and secular alike, so that everyone can better understand and work to combat the underlying and often unconscious issues that keep many women, both Christian and secular, tied in abusive relationships, and keep some men locked into patterns of wife abuse. Other novels do not deal with the wife's struggle to make sense of the opposing teachings of society and her gut feeling that something is very amiss, versus the Bible passages her husband uses as a club to insist that she is required to drop her own activities and plans at a moments notice in order to yield to his whims. They also deal primarily with physical violence, and leave readers with the impression that physical violence is the only violence bad enough to allow a Christian wife to leave her husband and still be obedient to God. Another lack is that non-abused people are not shown reaching out to the emotionally and spiritually abused. "Behind the Hedge," on the other hand, deals primarily with non-physical violence, which is often confusing to the recipient and may take years for her to realize she is living with an abuser, and she may never realize that her physical ailments stem from the stress of the abuse. The novel shows readers that verbal, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuses are a type of terrorism that the church must address by changing how it teaches marital roles and forgiveness. Society also must address abuse among Christians by studying those Bible passages in order to offer respectful and in-depth, biblically sound reasoning to men and women who are entrenched in abusive/dominant and battered/submissive marital patterns (rather than brush-off an individual's religious beliefs or suggest the husband get a divorce if he doesn't like what his wife does--a suggestion that is insulting to people who use a literal interpretation of the Bible and take marriage very seriously).
The small farm setting is another feature of the book that has fascinated a number of my readers. Farming activities are woven into the story without lengthy narration or explanation. With the majority of novels having a city setting, my readers found the farm setting both refreshing and informative.
Yvette, the wife in the story, tries her best to submit to her husband, Luke, but he keeps demanding more. (Ironically, as is true to life, many times he chooses more abusive behavior when she is submitting, which shows the abuse is based on his perception, feelings and beliefs, and not on her submission.) Her mother and her friend Delores help her see Luke's Bible interpretation is lopsided and ignores the directives to husbands. The clarity Yvette gains at times becomes clouded with confusion in the face of Luke's demands and indoctrination. But one day what the Bible teaches begins to click. Although she still deals with moments of self-doubt, her focus shifts to helping her husband stop sinning against her while at the same time being careful to not fall into sin herself. She also looks for re-teaching moments with her two sons, and is available to offer protection to her frightened and clingy daughter. But the more Yvette extricates herself from Luke's stranglehold, the angrier and more desperate he becomes. Yvette learns to seek resources from church and community to help her navigate her dealings with a man who is attempting a hostile takeover of her innermost being. But even when Yvette appears to win, is the battle really over?
For more information about abuse, and to read the first chapter, visit my website at www.wanetadawn.com
Is Someone You Care About Experiencing Marital Abuse? Aug 23, 2008
Are you, or is someone you care about, experiencing marital abuse and you just don't know what to do or how you can help?
In this fictional account of an abusive marriage within a Christian context, Waneta Dawn has done an amazing job of exploring the dynamics of such a relationship (and the effects of it upon the entire family). It is written with God given insight, sensitivity and compassion.
In addition to being a good read (with a completely surprise ending!), the story portrays biblical guidance for women experiencing abuse that has not escalated into violence as yet.