In 1989, the US Congress designated the month of October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Since then various national, state and local non-profit organizations sponsor activities to promote awareness and action.
What is Domestic Violence??
The term “domestic violence” as defined by the Department of Justice includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner. (Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline)
How Serious is the Problem??
For many, home is a place of love, warmth and comfort and as Christians we believe that God intended the family to be the foundational unit of society. But for millions of others, home is anything but a sanctuary.
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year.
- Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women more than accidents, muggings, and rapes combined
- Studies suggest up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually
- Every day in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends
- Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone-the equivalent of 32,000 full time jobs
- Men who as children witnessed their parent’s domestic violence were twice more likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.
Not in my Back Yard!!
The organization End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin reported that 72 individuals died as a result of domestic violence in 2016.
Locally, Turningpoint Shelter for victims of domestic violence reported:
- In Pierce County, Wisconsin, 129 victims of sexual assault with 35 of these incidents resulted in police involvement and led to three convictions.
- In St. Croix County, Wisconsin, 45 victims were reported with 23 of these incidents resulted in police involvement and led to five convictions.
- In addition to these hard statistics, Turningpoint staff reported answering calls that number in the thousands each year.
- Turningpoint offers temporary shelter in the most threatening cases as well as in home support services when appropriate.
- Turningpoint is one of the agencies receiving financial support each year through the Social Concerns Ministry budget.
What can I do?
As Christians and citizens, our responsibilities include being aware of the condition around us and turning to prayer.
- Pray for both the victims and abusers that they will get the help they need.
- Pray for those who minister to victims, especially our local resource, Turningpoint, the shelter for victims of domestic violence serving St. Croix and Pierce Counties in Wisconsin.
- Pray that our elected officials will address the underlying causes of Domestic Violence in our society and world.
In addition to prayer, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP) suggests the following ways any adult can make ending domestic violence his or her business:
- Cultivate a respectful attitude toward women in your family and at your workplace. Avoid behaviors that demean or control women.
- When you are angry with your partner or children, respond without hurting or humiliating them. Model a non-violent, respectful response to resolving conflicts in your family.
- If you have a friend or co-worker who is afraid of their partner or who is being hurt, offer your support and refer them to the 24 hour toll free National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800799-SAFE (7233).
- Learn about domestic violence services in your community (In our case, Turningpoint). Contribute your time (volunteer), resources or money. To offer assistance or seek help, call 715-425-5042. In case of immediate assistance, call 911.
- Call the police if you see or hear violence in progress. Abuse and domestic violence is a crime, even when it occurs between people in a relationship or in the same family.
The Evangelical Covenant Church addresses sexual assault and its related concern, domestic violence, through the Advocacy for Victims of Abuse (AVA) initiative.
They strongly recommend for those living in a violent environment to have a safety plan.
The details for making a safety plan as well as other resources available through AVA are described on their website covchurch.org or by calling 773-907-3332.
What can I do?
Pray individually, in family settings, and in small groups for: Victims, Offenders, Authorities, Responders, and Ministries such as Turningpoint in River Falls.
From your FirstCov Social Concerns Ministry Team
Through information, prayer needs, and tangible ideas to help, we seek to serve as the hands and feet of Christ to the world.