The Church - What is its role in DV?

We have reached a crisis level in the work to combat domestic violence in our nation today. If it is going to be controlled, even to a minimal extent, we must all be more cognizant, educated and knowledgeable about the face of domestic violence.

One out of every three women in the USA will, at some time during her life, become victimized by some form of domestic violence. That is 1 in 3, or one-third of the women in this country. Being someone who works in a ministerial capacity, as well as advocating for awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault, I realize the church simply must become more educated on the nuts and bolts, the characteristics and methods of combating such evils as spouse abuse/battery and sexual assault.

There are women who are battered, almost on a daily basis, walking amongst us. They hide it well. Enough make-up will cover a black eye or bruised neck. Long sleeves will hide the bruises on the arms where she has been grabbed and perhaps shaken brutally. Sadly, there are some women who have actually been physically beaten with Bibles or crosses. What are we to do about these situations?

I am in the process of establishing a program[1], utilizing the information and materials that have been made available to me through my work with nonprofit organizations and other ministries, adding to that my own testimony as a former victim-turned-survivor and now advocate for those who are still trapped in the throes of abuse and battering. The concept is to take this information into churches, offer it to clergy and congregations, helping them gain knowledge and understanding of the complexities of domestic violence, sexual assault or child sexual abuse, and to teach and equip them how to reach out to victims, to draw the wounded, fearful and defeated into an environment where they will feel safe, secure and spiritually supported.

After all, isn’t this what true religion is all about? Not Bible banging, finger pointing or revictimization, but rather encouragement, support and the pure love of God – His hand extended.

DV victim seeking help from church

As you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.

Listen to Carolyn’s interview with Cynthia Brennen, on “Help, Hope & Healing.” Visit her Everyday Health blog, Emotional Wellbeing, or her website at

[1] If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact Carolyn at her website: http// or e-mail her at

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