Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Voiceless Wednesdays--Domestic Violence

This week's focal point for Voice for the Voiceless is domestic violence. This is one issue that crosses all cultural, religious, socio-economic, racial, and ethnic boundaries so we can all relate to the issue. The statistics are alarming and it is likely a woman you know, it struggling with violence in her own home, where she eats and sleeps and cares for her children.

Domestic violence occurs between spouses or intimate partners, when one partner in the relationship tries to control the other person. The perpetrator uses fear and intimidation and often physical or sexual violence.
The Statistics:
*One out of three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.
*4 million women a year are assaulted by their partners. In 1 of 4 cases, women will also experience sexual abuse.
*60% of battered women are abused while they are pregnant.
*70-90% of women in Pakistan experience domestic violence.
*Every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted and beaten.
*1.1 million women in Australia have experienced violence by a previous partner.
How this impacts me personally:
At Bible study last night, we were chewing on the fact that 1 in 3 women worldwide has suffered abuse, either physically or sexually. That would mean that of the eight women attending our study last evening, 2 of them would have fallen into the category of abused. I found myself looking around the table at each of my dear sisters in the Lord, aching over the idea of any one of them being over-powered and forced into submission through violence. One woman bravely shared the story of her father's violence against her mother and how her mother had allowed him to abuse her to protect her children. It was hard to think of her having to grow up in a home where violence was a regular part of life. I am so removed from this issue....or am I?
After study, I had a few errands to run, including stopping by a friend's house to pick up something. As I was walking out to my car, I could hear shouting voices coming from across the street. It was angry and humiliating and cut through the icy night like a knife. Cruel and ugly and biting. I shivered as I stood on the sidewalk, wondering what to do. Should I go back into my friends' house and ask them to go with me to confront the source of those angry words? Should I call the police? Should I just pray? The angry words stopped and I sighed in relief as I got into my car and pulled away. I offered up a prayer of protection for that home as I drove past.
But, I couldn't sleep last night. I was annoyed with my feelings of relief. I knew I wasn't so much relieved by the fact that the angry words had ended, but by the fact that I no longer felt any confliction over what to do. It was selfish to want to walk away and forget about whatever problems might be erupting in that home. I got up to pray again, this time for forgiveness for my cowardice and indifference, and to pray more earnestly for that home and all that dwell within.
In the light of day and the light of truth, I see that God was opening my eyes to things I have chosen not to see. Things I have willingly remained blinded to...Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see You and those You love. Thank You for the peace of my own home and that I have not inherited a legacy of violence in any form. I pray for my sisters in Christ who may have inherited just that. Heal them, renew them, revive their hearts. Help them to trust in You and Your redemptive power. In Jesus' Name, Amen.



Ann said...

Those are staggering statistics to consider. Which house was it?