[Episcopal Public Policy Network policy alert] October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to learn about domestic violence and recommit ourselves to challenging all forms of violence in our communities.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.” Domestic violence affects all people regardless of gender, age group, religious group, or economic level. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, domestic violence affects nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men.
As people of faith, we are committed to opposing all forms of violence. Our churches are well positioned to “make active and ongoing responses to problems of sexual or domestic violence in their communities” (GC resolution 2000). As we mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we offer resources and steps for action:
- Educate yourself about domestic violence, dynamics of abuse, and ways to seek help.
- Familiarize yourself with Episcopal policy concerning domestic violence. General Convention resolutions that address domestic violence can be found here. They include encouraging educational programs in congregations and declaring opposition to domestic violence at all levels of society. Further, we are called by our Baptismal Covenant to “respect the dignity of every human being.”
- Spread awareness in your community. One way to do this is to partner with a local domestic or sexual violence center and host aSunday forum to discuss domestic violence and commit to solutions.
These steps can be seen as a beginning to taking action as a community against domestic violence. If your church is already implementing a domestic violence ministry, add it to the Episcopal Asset Map.