As we recognize October as Domestic Awareness Month, it is exciting to see the gradual movement across the country within our churches recognizing this serious and real issues. As one pastor recently shared,
“Over the last year, I have become acutely aware of the pervasiveness of hidden domestic abuse in the lives of members of our church family. Many times, I have counseled with couples and never could put my finger on what was wrong until I began to learn about domestic abuse. The abusers are masters of deceit and those being abused are fearful to speak out.”
Although education is a key element in addressing this destructive issue, it is important to know that you do not need to know everything about domestic abuse. Although it is good to have a basic understanding of the dynamics of abuse, every victim really needs to be heard, validated, protected, and supported. They want their abusers to be held accountable and to get help.
A church needs to work hand in hand with their local women’s services agency as they have many free resources available to women. These wonderful folks are eager to help and know how to walk with a victim step-by-step through the complexities of domestic abuse. Whether a women decides to stay or to leave for safety reasons, she can find the help she needs. You can find out who your local agencies are by doing a simple google search. It is good to become familiar with what they offer, including any training seminars for the community. Living Waters of Hope offers training seminars for the faith community, as well.
We are excited to celebrate the one year anniversary of the faith-based Oasis Bible Study curriculum designed to help victims and survivors! Not only have women found truth and healing, but others have joined the class just to learn more about domestic abuse in order to help others. The Oasis Bible Study curriculum is available to churches who would like to offer this class. We are always looking for potential class leaders to go through our application process. As one class participant shares,
“In twenty years of marriage, I kept wondering what was wrong with me. It was so wonderful to finally come to Oasis and find out truth and to have other women dealing with the same situation as me. This class has been the biggest blessing in my life. It is wonderful, Biblical material that is so relevant to abuse. It has opened my eyes to the truth and I am able to deal so much better with my husband than I used to. God leads me daily and I am leaning on Him to guide me.”
In light of this month, we have added a new resource list just for pastors and the faith community. Included are a variety of recommended books, websites and videos which can be found in the “Resources” menu. The “Awareness” option has some good ideas for domestic abuse awareness.
In conclusion, please keep in mind that in the US, one in four women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime. There are 3 women and one man killed every day from domestic violence. Every 9 seconds a woman is being abused. By the time you finish reading this article, about 30 women would have been abused and by the end of today, 4 people will have been killed. Domestic violence is a real and dangerous social issue that needs to be addressed within our faith communities. Thank you for your time. May God guide your steps as you seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the wounded and broken hearted.
In His Amazing Grace,