Earle Fisher will note in a guest column this Saturday, “One of the most prevalent and plausible critiques of the faith community is that when it comes to matters of sexual abuse and domestic violence, the church practices ‘sacred silence.’ ”
Do you agree? What can we do to provide a safe place for dialogue regarding these matters? Please share any initiatives/programs your faith community is involved in to address these matters.
The Church has not been silent even though some congregations have been silent on the grievous existence of domestic violence. Many churches joined Dr. Roz Nichols in the 5K Walk-Run against domestic violence in the late 90′s and participated in several public forums, featuring national faith leaders, denouncing domestic violence. Out of those intervention activities, many local churches have established ministries and safe havens for women. At the New Sardis Church, we will provide women and children with emergency housing to remove them from abuse and neglect. We teach and preach that a woman if hit by a man, constantly screamed at and threatened, call 911 and a get out of “Dodge.”
From the New Sardis pulpit, members have been instructed to detect domestic violence among members and how to intervene in love.
Sexual abuse and domestic violence are not normal in relationships and must not be tolerated by anyone for any reason. The transformation of the culture that accepts this nefarious practice must begin with a new level of appreciation for women and respect for the contributions women are making and have made to society. Women must be liberated in ministry. End sexual discrimination and break the stained glass ceiling in our congregations and a big dent will be made in the elimination of domestic violence. God never made a woman for a punching bag but a sick individual will not know the difference.