Friday, November 13, 2009

5 reasons domestic violence isn't addressed in church

Posted by Hannah at 7:22 PM

Houston's Praise 92.1 Radio had an article by Noelle Sewell regarding the top 5 reasons the church doesn't address domestic abuse.

Should we try to add to the list or do you think the list is fine the way it is?

Number one reason is the pastor himself could be the abuser

They themselves maybe or have been perpetrators of domestic violence (Yes I went there). There are pastors who are perpetrators and their deacons, elders and ministry leaders know it but they are afraid to call them on it. Often times the church leaders don’t want to appear to be attacking the pastor, cause disruption in the congregation, being shunned by other members, being removed from their ministry position, being asked to leave the church. Now you should make sure that there is abuse before approaching the pastor. Pray about if you have any doubts because once you make the accusation and it not true it will be difficult to restore the person’s reputation. If you witness it you need to address it with the leadership so both parties involved can be offered assistance. Be prepared to be osterized or removed from a position and/or asked to leave the church if the leadership is not ready to address the issue with the pastor.

Number 2 reason is clergy may have witnessed abuse in the past, and have not dealt with it themselves

They may have experienced seeing a parent abused and not have dealt with it. People who have witnessed abuse of a parent/family member may suppress the experience as a coping skill. Some may feel guilty because they wish they would have and /or could have stopped it. In order to receive healing and peace sometimes we have visit painful experiences. In Jesus there is freedom, healing and deliverance. Enough said!!

Number 3 is that the church can't handling dealing with such a social ill

They are afraid of the reaction of congregation’s reaction. There are still some people who may feel that the church is not a place to address such (social issues). Now correct me if I am wrong didn’t the bible address social issues like rape, incest, adultery, homeless and hunger just to name a few. I guarantee you that at least one person in your congregation has either experienced or witnessed abuse. If the bible addressed such issues why shouldn’t we be able to discuss the same issues in the church? Make sure you are presenting it in a practical biblical way.
Number 4 is money!  They could lose some tithes over this.  Yikes - that's a nasty though huh?

They are fearful of losing income (tithes and offering). Yes I went there again. I hope I don’t need to explain this. If I do please email me.Okay I should have said at least five.
Number 5 is pure and simple ignorance as to the dynamics or forms of domestic violence of any kind.

They really don’t have a clear understanding of the definition of domestic violence and the forms it could take. I would suggest two wonderful websites; The Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute and the Faith Trust Institute Both organizations have a lot of resources to offer.If your pastor does not want to address the issue and you feel God is leading you to do that ministry then I suggest you contact the organizations listed above and local organizations in your area. Volunteering with an organization that deals with domestic violence is a good place to start. You may even find someone who can assist you with designing a presentation for your church. Talk to women who have been victims (and we all know someone).

 I know beside the help the author mentioned I would like to add RAVE.  Pastors can educate themselves online, and its a self paced education.

Can you add any reasons for the list that the church doesn't like about addressing domestic violence, emotional abuse, or maybe even verbal abuse?  It could be you have another form in mind!

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Waneta Dawn on 11:54 PM said...

I can think of one more reason--scripture or spiritual abuse. Although this one can be combined in both emotional and verbal abuse, it also has its own special devastating effect. Spiritual abuse--especially "wife submit"--is especially hard for wives to deal with because there is a small amount of truth to it; the Bible does tell wives to submit to their own husbands. However, nowhere does the Bible tell husbands to force their wives to submit, or to school their wives, or to make demands of their wives.

Churches have a very difficult time addressing domestic violence because to do so feels to them as if they are telling wives to NOT SUBMIT. Churches that teach that the husband's role is to be an authority over his wife, have an especially difficult time addressing DV. After all, the husband who beats his wife, is simply enforcing his "god-given authority," so how can they fault him for that? They conclude the wife is at fault for not submitting. If she had submitted, her husband would not have had to enforce his authority.

Sadly, they fail to recognize that a substantial amount of wife abuse is done because of the husband's frustration or power-hunger, not because his wife is unsubmissive.

Hannah on 4:39 AM said...

Excellent! Yes indeed tend to do just that, and yet as an after thought you are told 'we didn't mean it like that - you misunderstood us'. In reality, they misunderstand the dynamics of the home.

Lynne on 5:39 AM said...

I think sometimes complementarian theology actually makes them unable to see abuse for what it is, especially if it's less physical. How can it be abuse if he's just insisting she take her "rightful" place back under him in the marriage? Why does a godly woman want/need her own ideas/ tastes/ opinions on anything when she was put on earth just to fulfil his needs? I have met people who can't conceive how anything less than life-threatening violence could even be considered abusive -- probably the same people who don't believe that such a thing as rape in marriage could possibly exist ..

Hannah on 6:02 AM said...

You also have an excellent points.

The bible speaks of attitude, and spirit not just rules we live by. It seems like they feel if you live by the rules, and don't worry about your attitude and spirit towards them you are fine.

Your example of rape is one huge point. They take the authority over the body to a level that was never intended. His 'needs' are above the spirit of how life is to be lived as a Christian. There is no damage done, because it is his right as a husband.

Its like they completely miss the spirit of how God intends you to live your life, and how to best reflect the spirit of God. There is nothing good, kind, loving, etc about the act of rape - and yet they find ways to justify it.

It like they tell you to leave common sense at the door, because its not welcome here.

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