Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

By Marilyn Pritchard

Are you or someone you love a victim of Domestic Violence?

When the one you love is the one who hurts you…

When the love of your life has threatened your life...

It shouldn’t be this way, but according to Focus Ministries this is reality for up to 6 million women every year. Even the church is not immune from domestic violence─ in the Christian community, one in four women experience some form of family violence.

And yet, many victims are reluctant to step forward. They may be worried for their own safety or the safety of their children if they speak up. They may fear rejection or blame. Sometimes, the church has failed to support women in abusive relationships by telling them they should respect and submit to their husbands, no matter what.

The church should be a safe place. Victims of domestic abuse need to know that they don’t have to be afraid of sharing honestly with their pastor, their Bible study leader, or a Christian counselor about their circumstances.

If someone shares with you that they are the victim of abuse, make sure they know that:

  1. You believe them.
  2. You will maintain their confidentiality.
  3. You are willing to help them.

One definition of domestic violence is “any act that causes the victim to do something she (or he) does not want to do, prevents her from doing something she does want to do, or causes her to be afraid.” It is marked by a pattern of behavior in which one partner exerts power and control over the other through intimidation, manipulation, verbal and/or physical attacks, isolation, coercion, threats, and blame.

In contrast,  a healthy relationship is built on respect, caring, mutual support and trust, and reciprocal love. In a godly marriage, husbands and wives are to treat each other with respect and honor (Col. 3:18-19; 1 Pet. 3:1-2,7).

While divorce is not part of God’s design for marriage, neither is abuse: “'For I hate divorce,' says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'and him who covers his garment with wrong and violence,' says the Lord of hosts. 'Therefore keep watch on your spirit, so that you do not deal treacherously [with your wife]'” (Mal. 2:16, AMP).

The Bible condemns violence (Ps. 11:5) and calls on all of us to help those who seek justice (Is. 1:17). If you are looking for resources to help someone who has been abused, or if you are the victim of domestic abuse, there are many tools available at Focus Ministries. You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline  at 1-800-799-7233.

Just Between Us (JBU) has put together some articles that address the issue of domestic violence. We pray that you will find encouragement here. We also hope that you will seek help if you or someone you care about is being abused.

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