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Domestic abuse education and awareness among faith leaders and in faith communities is essential to ending this epidemic. Below are a few resources for faith leaders and faith communities.
If you are interested in a more comprehensive domestic abuse training for your faith community, please contact us. Safe Haven has a unique area of expertise in faith and domestic abuse issues – we are happy to work with your group free of charge.
Please note: several of following resources are excerpted from “The Healing Path,” A Guide for Survivors of Domestic Abuse, published by the Kent County Domestic Violence Community Coordinated Response Team
Domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling behaviors that may include physical assaults, sexual assaults, emotional abuse, isolation, threats, stalking, and/or intimidation. These behaviors are used by one person in an intimate relationship to control the other. The partners may be married or engaged, heterosexual or homosexual, living together, separated, or dating.
Abuse can happen to anyone regardless of background, race and age. About one in four women will experience domestic abuse sometime in her lifetime.
Victims of domestic violence are not likely to speak openly about their relationship but may show subtle signs of having an abusive partner. Signs may include:
If you notice someone exhibiting these characteristics, don’t be afraid to privately ask her if she feels safe at home. If she tells you she does not, refer her to a local program for help.
The National Institute of Justice reports that the period of time following a woman’s decision to leave a domestic violence situation is often the most dangerous time in the relationship. While intimate partner homicides make up 40-50 percent of all murders of women in the United States, a woman’s attempt to leave an abuser was the precipitating factor in 45 percent of those murders.
Not only do women stay for fear of her and her children’s safety should she try to leave, many women who experience domestic abuse may fear that they will be unable to provide for their families or be ostracized from their communities of support.
When abuse is present in a relationship, couples and marriage counseling is not recommended for several reasons, primarily because a person who is being abused may not be safe in a counseling session for fear of retribution from the abuser. Initially, individual counseling is recommended, although reconciliation counseling may be an option after the abuse has ended.
Fortune, M.M. (1995) Keeping the Faith: Guidance for Christian Women Facing Abuse. San Francisco: Harper Publishing.
Fortune, M.M. (2004) Forgiveness and Abuse: Jewish and Christian Reflections. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.
Gardsbane, D. (2001) Embracing Justice: A Resource Guide for Rabbis on Domestic Abuse. Washington, DC: Jewish Women International.
Gardsbane, D. (2001) Healing & Wholeness: A Resource Guide for Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community. Washington, DC: Jewish Women International.
Kaufman, C.G. (2003) Sins of Omission: The Jewish Community’s Reaction to Domestic Violence. Boulder, CO: Westview Publishing.
Miles, A. (2000) Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Needs to Know. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers.
Miles, A. & Fortune, M.M. (2002) Violence in Families: What Every Christian Needs to Know. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers.
Staff of Volcano Press. (1995) Family Violence and Religion: An Interfaith Resource Guide. Volcano, CA: Volcano Press.