Keeping Church Accountable
As part of our new campaign, #BehindClosedDoors, we've invited a series of guests to write blog posts for us on the topic of domestic abuse. We understand this is a deeply personal and sensitive topic, if you feel reading this blog post will be traumatising for you in any way, we advise caution. However, we are committed to opening the door on domestic abuse in our communities and we urge you to have these difficult conversations in our churches. You can find a host of resources to help you get started and advice on steps to take if you are concerned for yourself or someone you know.
If you want to become involved in our campaign, you can do so through social media or by submitting a blog post to our Digital Communications Officer.
If you are concerned about a member in your church or diocese in relation to domestic abuse, please contact our Provincial Safeguarding Officer, Faye Howe.
One of the saddest elements to hear when listening to the people who have been subjected to domestic abuse is how the Church has felt complicit in keeping them trapped in their situations. This can be a conscious act such as a woman I met who upon leaving her husband after years of physical abuse was visited by her local priest and told that she must go home as she was in breach of her marriage vows. Or it may be far less conscious behaviour. In a faith that preaches forgiveness, I have heard women say that it is their Christian duty to accept the seemingly sincere apology after an abusive act, no matter how many times the cycle is repeated.
Whilst we may be able to correct these misconceptions of the Christian message if we are aware of a particular situation, what can we do for those trapped behind closed doors? During our 16 Days of Activism we in Mothers’ Union and the Diocese of Llandaff are calling on all in our churches to take the time to learn more about this global pandemic of abuse. Engage with the work of your local support charities. Read accounts of those who have personal experience of abuse. Listen to those in your communities who are worried about a particular situation. I have certainly learnt more about the issues from listening to the voices of survivors and the people who work with them than reading shocking reports of the staggering statistics.
And the woman who was told to stay with her husband? Well, she listened instead to the voice of Jesus, changed denomination and became a minister herself.