Should one leave in the face of marital rape?

A friend of mine has been with her husband for 13 years and has 5 kids with him. Their marriage started off mostly loving but he was a bit controlling even from the beginning. He was at times abusive to the kids so she separated from him the first time. He got counseling. She went back. He then raped her many times over the past 3 years. She separated from him and returned 4 more times in those years.

 They are going to a small church where the pastor is encouraging them to be accountable to him and to put the past behind.  She is really good at putting on a happy face most of the time while really hurting inside.  Her husband even forced her again just 2 weeks ago.  He says he is sorry but she no longer believes him.  She says she thinks he really thinks he is sorry, but she has heard that over and over before and does not trust what he says anymore.  Meanwhile, the Pastor who knows the things he has done to her still allows the husband to participate in the worship team every service.  That is hurtful for her to see.  

 And to top this off, about a year and a half ago he got a vasectomy.  She told him not to because she felt uneasy about it and thought she might later want another child to raise for the Lord.  But he did it anyway.  She is hurting from this also.  But feels like having another child now would not be good anyway.  Every time they are intimate, she says, she feels somewhat used now, even when she consents, which is 95 % of the time.  

 She told me she feels totally broken inside and doesn't feel safe to express it bc she does not want to get her husband in trouble and wants her family to stay intact.

 Yet, she told me she struggles with thoughts of ending the pain in different ways and thinks divorce might be better than the misery she feels every day when she sees him and is reminded of all the hurt and betrayal.

 So, what do you think she could do to get beyond the pain.  Should she stay or should she leave, and why?  Just trying to gain some perspective for her, besides the perspective of her husband or that Pastor.

Dear friend,

Your friend needs to take herself and her children out of that abusive situation. That minister is doing great harm in his support of a man who is clearly out of control. There has to be some counseling center for abused women in her area. She very much needs such counsel. She is in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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