Contact With Abusers

O My Son! The company of the ungodly increaseth sorrow, whilst fellowship with the righteous cleanseth the rust from off the heart.

Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Persian 56

O Son Of Dust! Beware! Walk not with the ungodly and seek not fellowship with him, for such companionship turneth the radiance of the heart into infernal fire.

Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Persian 57

Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly.

Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Persian 3

O ye beloved of the Lord! The kingdom of God is founded upon equity and justice, and also upon mercy, compassion, and kindness to every living soul. Strive ye, then, with all your heart to treat compassionately all humankind - except for those who have some selfish, private motive, or some disease of the soul. Kindness cannot be shown the tyrant, the deceiver, or the thief, because, far from awakening them to the error of their ways, it maketh them to continue in their perversity as before. No matter how much kindliness ye may expend upon the liar, he will but lie the more, for he believeth you to be deceived, while ye understand him but too well, and only remain silent out of your extreme compassion.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Art of Living, p. 74

On the other hand there are some persons whose very respiration extinguishes the light of faith; whose conversation weakens firmness and steadfastness in the Cause of God; whose company diverts one's attention from the kingdom of Abhá.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 8, No. 2, p. 25

Smooth and insidious are these snakes, these whisperers of evil, artful in their craft and guile. Be ye on your guard and ever wakeful! . . . Act ye with all circumspection!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 314

Such an attitude (forgiveness and insight into their actions) does not preclude your being prudent in deciding upon the appropriate amount of contact with your parents. In reaching your decision you should be guided by such factors as their degree of remorse over what they inflicted on you in the past, the extent of their present involvement in practices which are so contrary to Bahá’í Teachings, and the level of vulnerability you perceive within yourself to being influenced adversely by them. In the process of reaching a decision, you may well find it useful to seek the advice of experts such as your therapist.

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 9 September, 1992

The House of Justice has noted with sympathetic understanding the despair to which you have been driven by the recurrent incidences of cruelty and neglect you have been made to endure . . . Under the circumstances you have so amply described, you should feel free to separate yourself from them to the extent possible. Their behavior towards you grossly violates the norms of parental relationship with a child, and this fact can be taken into consideration if and when you decide to get married.

Universal House of Justice to an individual, 7 August 2001

There is a case recorded where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote to a Western believer who had sought His advice. She was told that she should remain faithful and forbearing towards her husband but, should his cruelty become unendurable, she should leave him to himself and live separately from him, as this was better and more acceptable.

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 22 July, 1987

It is essential that the Assembly be cautious in any contact with the abused party concerning the matter. Furthermore, before approaching an alleged abuser, the Assembly should, in consultation with the abused and with advice from domestic violence professionals as necessary, attempt to assess the risk of any proposed approach and take care to ensure the safety of everyone involved before carrying out any actions. In any situation in which the Assembly has exhausted its local advisory resources and is still uncertain how to proceed, it should seek guidance from the National Spiritual Assembly.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 81.

Single parents often need training in how to be a single parent and how to interact effectively with the estranged parent, if there is voluntary or mandated contact, as well as education in what the needs of the children are in relation to the attitudes and behaviors of the parents.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 130