Definition of domestic violence: “a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to control and subordinate another in an intimate relationship. These behaviors may include physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse.” Oregon Domestic Violence Council. In addition to the types of abuses listed, others include emotional, verbal, sexual, spiritual, property damage. Know that there is no excuse for abuse, and it is not a woman’s fault. The dynamics of this behavior is explained more specifically in the Power and Control and Spiritual Abuse Wheels. It is important to know that there is a cyclical pattern to this behavior causing false hope and confusion for any woman.
Statistics: 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are affected by domestic violence in their lifetime along with many children in these homes.
Three key goals: (Rev. Marie Fortune – Faith Trust Institute.org)
- Safety for the victim and children
- Accountability for the abuser
- Restoration of the relationship (if possible) or mourning over the loss of the relationship
Seven things to say:
- I am really sorry to hear this is happening to you.
- I am afraid for your safety.
- I am afraid for the safety of your children.
- I am afraid it will only get worse. (say it in a non-blaming way)
- I will help you find someone who can help.
- You do not deserve to be treated this way.
- I will not tell anyone what we discussed.
Sarah Buel, a formally battered woman, is a national expert and trainer on domestic violence.
Three key questions to ask:
- Do you feel afraid in your home?
- Has he hit you?
- If so, has he ever choked/strangled you?
- Research has shown that women who have been strangled are 750 times more likely to be killed. https://www.strangulationtraininginstitute.com/resources/library/strangulation-information-graphic/
- What does he do when he gets angry?
Seven reminders for church leaders and other support persons:
- Be a good listener if she shares her story
- Be compassionate and not judgmental
- Understand the importance of confidentiality and the risks involved
- Refer her (and him) to local resources for help (Individually!)
- Protect and support her and the children
- Help keep the husband accountable while supporting him
- Pray with her