Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time to Get Involved--Domestic Violence Services Fall Victim to State Budget Cuts

With a recession going on, State budgets are being slashed, and funding for domestic violence programs and services are decreasing in some states. As vital as these services are, as Christians, we should not depend on state services to come to the aid of battered and domestically abused wives within our spheres of influence. But for many, like pastor's wife, Susan Greenfield, author of, Would the Real Church PLEASE Stand Up!, domestic violence shelters and services were all she and her children had to turn to, and domestic violence counselors, instead of her church family, were her supporters as she navigated the terrifying minefield of domestic abuse.

Christians, we must step up to the plate here, and stop shying away from becoming involved in these horrendous situations. Lives depend upon it. The Word of God commands us bear one another's burdens, and a battered wife who comes to us for help is in compliance with the scriptural admonition to seek godly counsel in her situation (Psalm 1:1).

The first step we need to take is to educate ourselves in understanding the issue and learning how to respond to the situation biblically and compassionately. That is the purpose for the books listed in the sidebar of this blog. Together, they make for a well rounded library for the person who wishes to understand the vital issue of domestic abuse and become equipped to deal effectively with it.

After all is said and done, some may yet need to avail themselves of the safety of a shelter, but let it not be said among us, who call ourselves by the name of Christ, that we looked the other way and forced one of our own to seek only secular help.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spinning Our Wheels

The longer I look at the issue of domestic abuse among Christians, the more convinced I become that all the seminars and conventions in the world, on how to effectively deal with and hopefully stop domestic abuse and violence among Christians, are not going to change a thing until the patriarchal/complementarian doctrine of female subordination is repented of and cast out. It is a vicious doctrine that lies at the very heart of domestic abuse among Christians. It is the thing that perpetuates it and the thing that keeps church leadership from responding appropriately and compassionately to abuse victims.

The Complementarian/Patriarchal theology of rigid roles assigned by God to men and women is a doctrine of extreme prejudice against women with one of its main tenets being that females are inherently antagonistic toward males—most particularly wives against husbands. So in the eyes of the men and women who hold to this doctrine, that makes woman the natural and most powerful enemy of man.

Some time ago, I stated publicly, in writing, that I had no intention of enlisting in the gender war that is currently raging within the Church. That was before I understood that I had no choice in the matter. I now understand that all men and women are drafted into this war, and whether we choose to take no position at all (which means we are content to support the status quo which is complementarian patriarchy) or whether we choose to either quietly or loudly stand on our convictions, we are all in the thick of it, and I have finally, reluctantly, come to accept that fact.

My strong conviction is that prejudice against the female sex lies at the very root of the gender war and at the root of domestic abuse and violence. As evidenced through statements written by nearly all evangelical female authors regarding the viciousness of women’s attitudes and behavior towards men, this prejudice is manifested through women against women just about as much as through men against women. Sadly, it manifests prominently through the leadership of most Fundamentalist and Evangelical denominations, Churches, Bible colleges and Seminaries as well.

Until this prejudice which is perpetuated by the evangelical doctrine of gender-based authority in the home, church, and society is completely eradicated, I can safely predict that, not only will there will be no end to domestic abuse among Christians but that it will become even more prevalent.

We are beginning to explore this issue in some detail at the Woman Submit Blogspot

Friday, March 6, 2009


What goes on BEHIND THE HEDGE?

Behind the Hedge by Waneta Dawn is a spellbinding story that shatters the myth that a single act of domestic violence is an unusual or isolated incident sparked by some fault or action of the victim.

The author, who is both a survivor of domestic abuse and former facilitator for a batterer's intervention group, has crafted a story that draws the reader into the lives of Yvette, Luke and their family and gives an inside view into the psyches of both abuser and abused.

The book is both good reading and an excellent resource for Christians who want to learn more about responding compassionately and biblically to the sin of domestic abuse, for those who may be experiencing domestic abuse or wonder if they are experiencing domestic abuse or who know someone who is.

Waneta Dawn was raised in the Mennonite Faith. Readers can learn more about her and, BEHIND THE HEDGE, by visiting her website, http://www.wanetadawn.com/

Monday, January 12, 2009

Domestic Violence Is Child Abuse

The article below is written by a mother who is determined to protect her children from the devastating effects of domestic violence.

Anyone who does not believe domestic violence is child abuse has obviously not seen the damage that is done to children exposed to violence and abuse within the home. One source of danger is crossfire. A child may get caught in the middle. Flying objects, bullets, or fists can place a child in serious physical danger. Children may also attempt to protect their mother and become injured as the perpetrator attempts to force them out of the way.

We have all heard the horrific stories on the news of an abusive father murdering his own children, wife, and then taking his own life as well. These things do happen.

And what about children who witness domestic violence? As children’s brains develop, they are affected by what they see and hear. Trauma interferes with that development. I am not a psychologist, but I am a mother. A child who watches as his father yells, throws things, pushes, grabs, or strangles his mother IS affected. The child may become fearful, insecure, and timid, or the child may begin to imitate those same actions toward younger siblings or even towards his mother. A child may become so conditioned to the father's behavior patterns that he may even go so far as subconsciously understanding "safe" places to play out this behavior.

If the battering father is gentle and kind in public, yet cruel and violent in the privacy of the car and home, you can expect this same behavior out of his son if there is no intervention.

A mother may be accused of not being capable of parenting the children since she is the only one reporting the outrageous behavior of her son after leaving a batterer. If she was unable to change the violent/abusive behavior of her husband, how is she going to be able to change the violent/abusive behavior of her son who is being influenced by his father?

Parenting time between a child and a batterer MUST be limited—and supervised if possible. The courts must step in to protect our children. If a child hears the most influential male role model in his life refer to his mother in demeaning ways such as calling her, "stupid woman," the child will readily accept these words into his own vocabulary and developing belief system.

A mother can work to instill healthy views of men and women into her child, but will not be able to keep the child emotionally safe if the influence remains strong from the violent parent.

Do we have reason to believe an abusive husband will change after his wife leaves the relationship? Of course not. She did not cause him to abuse in the first place. It was something deep within himself that caused him to feel that it was acceptable to treat another person poorly. If he does not release his pent-up aggression on his wife after she leaves the relationship, it is very likely his need to release that aggression will not cease, and the child may become the new target. Lundy Bancroft's book, The Batterer as a Parent, goes into great detail on this subject. Bancroft describes the impossible task of being a mother and trying to productively "co-parent" with a batterer.

Please check out the domestic violence resources listed on The Dorcas Network website ( http://www.TheDorcasNetwork.com/ ). They are very helpful in understanding the dynamics of this destructive epidemic. Abuse can occur with the husband being the victim instead of the wife. Abuse also occurs in unmarried situations. And daughters as well as sons are adversely affected by the influence of violent or abusive fathers.

Marie Green
A Mother Determined to Protect