Calling it a problem is an understatement. You ain’t got to read the latest news drop on Chris Brown and Rihanna to see America is suffering. We live in a nation where “on the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day”.1 We live in a country where “1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner”.2 We live in America where “as many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy”. 3According to a 2005 CDC Survey, “One in four US women and one in nine US men are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives.” (CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey 2005) And it’s not just America…“One out of three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.2
While the statistics tell of the widespread manifestation of violence, people often resist getting involved until it becomes personal to them, right? Then meet Faye…She was returning home from Church when she was shot and killed by her estranged husband. She was hit in the face and head with the butt of a gun until she fell to the ground. She was then shot in the back. Maybe you haven’t met Amy either… She was strangled and stabbed to death by her husband. After killing her, her husband then killed Amy’s mother. Amy’s five year old son witnessed both his mother and his grandmother being murdered. She was eight months pregnant at the time of her death. These accounts represent 2 of the 154 Texas women who were killed in 2003. (Click here for additional information on these and other accounts)
Across the United States, men and women have obvious bruises and hidden scars… and the body of Christ has an obligation for action. But what can I do? First, to any victim reading this, there is help available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a website (www.ndvh.org) and a toll-free telephone (1-800-799-7233) with trained call-takers who want to help. Contact your local law enforcement agency for additional information regarding resources and options. If you’re one of the thousands of Americans who personally know someone who is a victim of domestic violence, be supportive of the victim and encourage them to seek help. Although you may want to try to “fix” a situation, you cannot rescue them, they have to make the decision on their own. Often times the victims feel helpless. No matter how much you try to comfort them and pray, sometimes they will reject your help. Remain confident in knowing you are doing what is right. If you don’t know any victims of domestic abuse and would like to help financially, the National Domestic Violence Hotline accepts donations.
No matter how many statistics, devotionals or brochures are produced, domestic violence will continue unless God’s people pray for the households plagued with abuse. I’m not saying that by throwing up a prayer or two will resolve family violence across the globe. I am saying though that prayer is powerful and effective, and should be the first course of action. Become educated on the warning signs of domestic abuse…just because you can’t always see the bruises doesn’t mean the scars don’t exist. Believers, we have a call to help those in need. This is not just “another cause”. These are the lives of your friends, family, church and community. But then again, it’s your call…
“Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.” (Psalm 10:17-18)
1. Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003.
2. Silverman, Jay G., Raj, Anita, and Clements, Karen. “Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality.” Pediatrics, August 2004.
3. Gazmararian JA, Petersen R, Spitz AM, Goodwin MM, Saltzman LE, Marks JS. “Violence and reproductive health; current knowledge and future research directions.” Maternal and Child Health Journal 2000; 4(2):79-84.