As a person who believes in God it hurts me to read stories that lead people to believe ALL church members encourage domestic violence. The church SHOULD be a place of healing and restoration. I will only post a little of this article please visit faithtrustinstitute.org for the rest of it.
After you read it please let us know your thoughts on the church and domestic violence. We would love to hear from you!
Only if we overcome our fear of it
by Julia L. Perilla
Religious teachings can undoubtedly be a roadblock in stopping domestic violence.
In my work the past 17 years with families affected by this tremendous social problem I have
heard many women talk aboutresponses by some priests,religious sisters orlay workers when
survivors shared their experiences of domestic violence. These church figures could have
comforted with biblical passages on Godʹs unwavering love and the importance ofrespect and
equality within a couple. They could have held the batterer accountable forthe violence he had
committed against the woman he had promised to love.
Instead, abused women are often told that they must not do things that angertheir spouses so
that the spouses do notrespond with violence. Women are reminded of the permanence of
marriage and the need to ʺbeartheir crossʺ forthe good of their children and family. Biblical
passages are misinterpreted to validate the tremendous powerimbalance present in these
These responses are of grave concern because women who have been abused often seek support
from the church first.
ʺWhen I Callfor Help: A PastoralResponse to Domestic Violence Against Women,ʺ published
by the U.S. bishopsʹ conference in 1992 and addressed again in 2002, affirms many realities that
confront my daily work, including the problemʹs epidemic proportions. As a statement from the
bishops, this document contains important messages forfamilies in crisis due to violence. The
letter speaks of Jesusʹ love and respect for women, and the biblical image of a kind, merciful and
loving God.It names domestic violence a sin.It calls for clergy and lay church workers to obtain
training so that parishes can enhance victim safety and batterer accountability. So, why do we
not hear more often about this document from the pulpit?
I suspect it has to do with ourindividual and collective fears about tampering with the
institution of marriage, with issues that are best kept as ʺfamily secrets,ʺ with our anxiety about
exposing untenable situations within couples. Fortunately, the bishopsʹ letter provides an
excellentroadmap forthe churchʹs involvement through direct, caring action. Reading the
Page 1 of 3 Permission Granted to DuplicateThe Role ofChurches inPreventing Domestic Violence http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org
document will allay fears and provide clear and scripturally based guidelines for using the
pulpit as a toolforjustice‐making.