Posted in abuse

Domestic Violence and a Pastor’s Response By Donna Gibbs

Domestic Violence: Two. Intimidating. Words.

I’ve been working as a professional Christian Counselor for nearly 20 years, and these two words still haunt me. No matter how much experience I have with this issue, no matter how many encounters with violence, I still have a healthy respect for the unpredictable nature of this often silent struggle. One thing is for sure, domestic violence is a real thing. And, this side of heaven, it’s not going away. It’s in my church. And, it’s in yours.

I’ve seen the bruises, the cuts, the broken bones, and the broken spirits. I’ve seen the long-lasting trauma in a child who has witnessed a chronic form of terror. I’ve sat across from more than one female who narrowly escaped death at the hands of the husband who committed to love, nurture, and protect her for life. Domestic violence doesn’t always involve a male offender, though over 75% of domestic abuse events involve a male offender. The point is domestic violence is real. And its scary.

So what is the appropriate response for a pastor? I genuinely believe that a pastor, and their church leadership, can be the most effective tool available to a community in educating families and breaking the silence and chains of abuse. On the other hand, pastors and church leaders can also be the very tools used to create the silence, and continue the horror.

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