1AKA: Relationship Abuse Intimate Partner Violence Domestic ViolenceAKA: Relationship AbuseInterpersonal AbuseIntimate Partner ViolenceFamily ViolenceDomestic violence is known by other names as well.In this presentation we will discuss what it is and what it isn’t.Because it affects so many families in our churches; it’s important that we understand it so that we can respond appropriately. Well meaning people, with the best intentions have often responded badly in domestic violence situations, simply because they don’t know any better. It is our hope that this presentation will help so that our churches can become places of hope and healing for those who have been impacted by domestic violence.
2Domestic violence is a hidden problem Domestic violence is a hidden problem. Another group I was a part of created a poster campaign to help increase awareness about this issue that hides among us. This is one of our posters. We don’t talk about it; it’s an easy problem to keep hidden away, behind closed doors.
3What is it?Domestic – refers to relationship Blood, Marriage, Residence, Intimate Partners Violence – refers to harm Physical, sexual, emotional “Any attempt to impose my will on another human being is an act of violence” - Mahatma GhandiLegal definitions of domestic violence usually define the relationship involved – family, marriage living together, etc…Violence refers to causing harm in the relationship.This Gandhi quote may be an extreme definition; but we will see in this presentation that power over another , or one person imposing his or her will on another is at the heart of domestic violence. And it doesn’t always involve physical violence, there are many ways that control in a relationship is maintained.
4Listen to The VoicesVideo: When Love Hurts and/or Video: Battered Hearts And/or Dramatic ReadingYou will see when we hear stories, that each one is unique. At the same time, there are common themes that can be identified.
5Power & Control Domestic Violence is NOT (Myths we believe) An anger management issueA small problem that only affects a few peopleCaused by substance abuseHappening somewhere else, not in my churchDomestic Violence ISHidden, happening here, even in my churchALL ABOUT POWER & CONTROLNot anger out of control – those who abuse are very much in control and use anger as a way to intimidate their partners.(We need to emphasize that since the problem is NOT an anger management issue; anger management treatments and interventions are not effective. Group interventions, rather than individual counseling, in programs specifically designed for those who abuse others, have been shown to be the most effective in changing abusive behavior. This is a whole other topic and also an opportunity for the church.)Back to list – DV is NOT: (See Handout Myths & Facts)A small problem – No! it affects 1 in 3 womenCaused by substance abuse – treat the substance abuse and you have a sober person who abusesIt is in our churches, even when we don’t see itDV IS all about power and control …
6A DefinitionDomestic Violence: A pattern of behaviors used to establish control over another person through coercion, fear, intimidation, emotional abuse, social isolation, or other methods, which often (not always) includes the use of, or the threat of, physical or sexual violenceKey components of the definition are that it is a pattern of behavior, not a one-time event. And that the purpose of the intimidating behaviors is to establish and maintain control in the relationship.Also, that there are many tactics used to maintain control, threats may work just as well as actual physical violence – one women talked about how her husband called her in to talk with him while he sharpened his hunting knife or cleaned his gun; the message was clear. Damaging property or hurting pets can also be a form of abuse. The message can be, “see how I hurt your pet, or destroyed something you love – I can do it to you too”.
7A hierarchical relationship in which one person seeks to dominate and impose his/her will on another; using various means to maintain control.This may be hard to see – (Look at Handout w/Wheels)Power and control is at the center of the wheel – it’s the driving force. Many different tactics can be used – and the severity may escalate.The relationship does not start out being abusive, the abuser may be charming and sweet. Abuse may start out very subtly – one woman described being flattered when her partner expressed jealousy and didn’t want her to be away from him. That became abusive later in the relationship when he would not let her call or see friends, harshly demanded where she’d been, and falsely accused her of being unfaithful.Often those who abuse are not aware that their behavior is abusive, they may feel that they are entitled to have things their way and may have little empathy or regard for their partner’s needs.
8A mutual relationship expressing value, dignity and respect toward one another. Though not lived out perfectly, equality is the shared goal.Here we can see qualities in a relationship that stand in contrast to the previous power and control wheel.In this case mutual respect is evident as both people live out their relationship as we are commanded to do by our Lord, considering the interests of others, not just our own (see Philippians 2).If we consider our relationships, equality does not mean that we are exactly the same – equality does not necessarily mean that we have the same roles at home or in church. What it does mean is that each person has equal dignity, and is deserving of equal respect, because we are all created in the image of our Lord.Marriages especially are holy and are to reflect the relationship between Christ and his church – there is no place for abuse there.
9What About the Children? Behavior, Social and Emotional ProblemsAggressive/ antisocialDepressed/anxiousCognitive and Developmental ProblemsLower assessments (verbal, motor, etc…)Limited problem solvingLong Term Impacts – As AdultsHigher DV involvement as adultsPTSD/risk factors/premature deathWe often don’t think of children when we think of domestic violence – but it affects them and many of the effects are devastating and can last into adulthood.Trauma effects brain development; prolonged trauma experienced over years can have serious long-term effects.In addition to the effects of the trauma of abuse, children learn what they live at home. Experts believe that children who are raised in abusive homes learn that violence is an effective way to resolve conflict. They may replicate what they’ve seen (what they’ve learned) in their own relationships as teens and as adults.
10The Way of our LordDo nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves… In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing … he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! - Philippians 2: 3- 11Our Lord showed us a better way, it’s the exact opposite of the power and control that manifests itself in abusive relationships. This humble, loving attitude should characterize relationships in our church communities. Allowing abusive relationships to continue does not honor our Lord.
11Two Kinds of PowerThe kingdoms of this world place their trust in whatever coercive power they can use over others … The “power of the sword” By CONTRAST, the Kingdom of God refuses to use coercive power over others, choosing instead to rely on a power shown in humble, self-sacrificing love … The “power of the cross” Transforming, Ultimate Power = The CrossThe use of power in the kingdom of God stands in stark contrast to the way the world uses power. It’s been said that you can tell where the Lord is by watching the way power is used.Jesus is our example (Philippians 2).
12Why do Churches Care? We are a light to the world We are one body We are not representing Christ well when abuse exists in our communitiesOur marriages are a reflection of Christ and the ChurchWe are one bodyWhen one part hurts it hurts the whole bodyWe are called to love and to care for one anotherTwo more biblical concepts also relate to our discussion of interpersonal abuse.We are a light to the world –In our world disrespect and abuse is common,Our light is dimmed when we allow abuse to continue in our midstWe are one body –We cannot say to any part, “we don’t need you”,We are commanded to love one another and care for one another. We need each part to be healthy and working the way it’s supposed to, so that we can be an effective functioning body.
13Here’s another one of our posters from the poster campaign Here’s another one of our posters from the poster campaign. We need to pay attention to people around us – how might we know that someone is struggling in an abusive relationship?Let’s look at what to look for.
14Signs – Take Notice Unexplained bruises or injuries Absences from work or schoolLow self-esteem – lack of confidenceTrouble identifying feelings and expressing needsFear of conflict – gives in easilySelf BlameMaking excusesYou may notice someone wearing long sleeves, even in the summer to avoid showing bruises or injuries. Or, if injuries show, they may be unexplained or explained away with an elaborate story about what happened – injuries may happen more often than anyone would expect.The intense powerlessness experienced in abuse, over time, can lead to a loss of sense of self. Low self esteem, and trouble identifying feelings or stating needs can result. One woman said, “I didn’t even know what color I liked any more, it was whatever color he told me to like.”When someone needs to constantly ask permission to participate in an activity; or when someone misses events and then makes excuses; it may be worth asking a few more questions.
15How Can Churches Help? Be a Safe Place, a sanctuary from abuse Understand Abuse DynamicsSpeak Out! It’s OK to talk about it hereListen, Listen, Listen!Two ears; one mouthYou don’t need all the answersPoint to resourcesProvide “walk-alongside” supportBe available over timeAs churches, we have unique resources that are simply not available anywhere else. We have the Lord in our midst, the power of the Holy Spirit, and all the resources that He has given his people. We need to be at the forefront of this issue – Our churches can make a difference.
16Top 10 Checklist for Churches Do you offer a listening ear?Is there abuse information in the restroom?Do you partner with the local shelter?Is abuse discussed in youth group?Do you make appropriate referrals?Is abuse discussed in pre-marital counseling?Do you realize the importance of spiritual resources?Do you offer ministry opportunities for those who have received care to give back?Do you hold those who abuse accountable?This top ten checklist is from RAVE (see handout)These are the top ten things to look for in determining whether a church takes seriously the problem of domestic violence. How many of these are true of your church?
17Resources for Churches Restored – Packet for Churches:RAVE – Religion and Violence E-learning:Faith Trust Institute:Safe Church Ministry:SCM: A Church Leader’s RoleWheels; Survivor Stories; Etc…One thing that has changed over the years is that there are a lot more resources available for churches that want to take the problem of domestic violence seriously. Here are just a few of them.We have resources, including links to other websites on the Safe Church website; or you can call a Safe Church Team member or the Safe Church office for more information.
18DV Continuum of Care 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Level of Danger Level of DangerGuarded – General RiskElevated – Significant RiskExtreme – Severe RiskSymptomsOccasional incidents of belittling, name calling, and truth twisting. May believe partner is caring but feels like “walking on eggshells”.Frequent incidents involving yelling, screaming, hitting, stalking, making threats. There is isolation from friends and family and fear of partner.Frequent incidents of being beaten physically and verbally, threats with a knife, gun or some other weapon, strangulation, or destroying property. Fear of death from partner.Level of CareMinimumModerateMaximumGoal of CareOffer the one victimized education and counseling resources so that she or he can learn about DV and be proactive in thinking about safetySafety is a priority. Education about DV and counseling resources are needed, as well as a safety plan so the one victimized is empowered, knowing how to get to safety.Safety is the top priority. This is a dangerous situation. Offer resources to help the one victimized get to a safe place like a shelter. Help from police is recommended to gather belongings.This tool can be a quick and ready resource for pastors who are confronted with a possible domestic violence situation in their congregation and need to determine appropriate action.It can also be useful for anyone who is walking alongside someone in this situation, as a friend or family member.Keep it in a convenient location and use it as a resource.
19What can WE do? From what we’ve heard today: What would we like to see in our churches?What are possible next steps for action?What are we willing to do?