Showing posts in 'Domestic Violence Series'

Domestic Violence: how the church can help

Helen Thorne | March 22nd 2014

There are no quick fixes to the problems of domestic violence but there are things a local church community can do to help prevent it and help respond to it well. Here are our top tips for ways to be proactive:

Raise awareness

It doesn’t take much to put a notice on the church noticeboard, website or noticesheet. It just takes a line … Make sure people know that if they are affected by domestic violence – either as an abuser or by being abused – the leadership of the church are willing to talk with them. If it’s appropriate to flag up the subject in a Bible study or sermon, that can be helpful and marriage prep courses are a great place to start the conversation too.... continue reading

Domestic Violence: A friend in need

Helen Thorne | March 20th 2014

It can be a shock, it's always hard, but it's a huge privilege when someone tells you they're being hurt. To be trusted to such an extent that someone is willing to tell you that their closest relationships are on the rocks is an opportunity to show the love, wisdom and practical support that we are called to exhibit in the local church. But what exactly is going to be helpful? Here are our ideas:

1. Thank you
Your friend may be terrified that you will doubt them or run away in terror, simply thanking them for sharing their life with you is a great way to start.

2. Would you like to tell me more about what has been happening?
It's never a good idea to pressurise, but it's great to give people an opportunity to share what is burdening them.... continue reading

Domestic Violence: Changed perspectives

Helen Thorne | March 19th 2014

What were you like 5 years ago?

I'm ashamed to say I was a monster. Of course, I didn't see that at the time but it's true. I shouted, I swore, I lashed out with my fists towards my spouse and my elderly mother who lived with us.

So, you were angry?

Yes, but I was more scared. I was scared of losing control of my life, scared of being unable to cope, scared of people thinking badly of me, scared of failure and so I set out to control everything, everyone, around me. When they didn't comply with my plans or fit my view of how life should be, I lost it and the world went red: I blamed them and punished them for ruining my little corner of life.... continue reading

Domestic Violence: How NOT to respond

Helen Thorne | March 18th 2014

Being told of domestic violence can come as a real shock - especially if the perpetrator of the violence (male or female) is someone you know and like. Because of that, it's easy to let unhelpful things come out of our mouths. Here are our top 5 things that should never be said:

  • I don't believe it! People very rarely make allegations like that up. It's probably taken them months, if not years, to pluck up the courage to tell someone - and they might well be thinking that they deserve the beatings and don't deserve help - so make sure you don't destoy what little hope they have by implying you think they're lying.
  • It'll soon blow over! Domestic violence is not a storm in a teacup. It is external evidence of deep internal problems. Each individual outburst may dissipate quite quickly but the problems will linger and intensify if they are not dealt with.
  • What did you do to deserve that? No-one is perfect but no-one, absolutely no-one, deserves to be physically assaulted by a spouse or other family member. Be careful not to suggest that they deserve to be hit.
  • All marriages have their problems. Indeed they do! But not all marriages contain violence. Empathising by sharing your struggles may well be appropriate but minimising the pain of others is never helpful.
  • Well, you can't leave them! Marriage is a special and precious covenant - one that should not be broken lightly. As Christians, it's important to emphasise that, in the grace of God, it is definitely possible to work through the issues that are fuelling violence and for a marriage to survive but there often needs to be a time of separation while counselling is sought and that period probably will not be short. Sometimes (if the abuser does not change) complete separation will be necessary. Utilising services like refuges can be an invaluable step that can ultimately bring about the change that every party needs.

Domestic Violence: On being a punchbag

Helen Thorne | March 18th 2014

There was a time when I barely even thought of myself as human. Oh don't get me wrong, I wasn't under some illusion that I came from an alien species, it's more that I didn't think I deserved to be treated like I would treat other people. I thought I was different, lower, less significant than those around me.

When I first met my husband, I was in a bit of a mess. My depression was bad and I had trouble making decisions. He was like a breath of fresh air. He was always so full of faith, so willing to take the lead, galvanise me into action and guide me on how to act and dress. I loved it. I loved him! Within weeks I went from a timid woman who rarely left the house other than to go to work to a well-groomed, socially-active person who could be confident in her boyfriend's words.... continue reading

Domestic Violence: Hidden Reality

Helen Thorne | March 18th 2014

No-one really wants to admit it's there - especially in churches. We're God's precious family and we're supposed to act like it. That shouldn't include beating up your husband ... or wife ... or elderly parent. But, in families across the globe, it does.

Domestic violence is not just out there, it's common. According to The Crown Prosecution Service website nearly 1 million women in the UK experience at least one incident of domestic violence each year and, each week, 2 women are killed by their partner or ex-partner. And churches are not immune from the phenomenon.... continue reading

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