domestic violence in general and also which happens in a Christian marriage. It shall explain as to how domestic violence affects children and the person being abused. The paper shall deal with examples of domestic violence, how church leaders are dealing with domestic violence in Christian families, how domestic violence and divorce are interrelated.
Domestic violence may be defined as any action, which can be deemed as the use or threat of use of physical, emotional, vocal, or sexual abuse with the aim to instill fear, intimidation, and control of behavior. Domestic violence happens in the area of intimate relationship and could continue even after the relationship has been terminated. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse all form part of Domestic violence. Estimates of the rate of domestic violence prove difficult, since many of the victims do not let others know that they are involved in partner violence. It is believed that with regard to violent behavior against females in the context of intimate relationship the police are informed of only 20% of all rapes, 25% of all physical assaults, and 50% of all stalking occurrences. (Domestic Violence: A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet)
look at some statistics to provide the prevalence of domestic violence in the U.S. include the fact that domestic violence is not restricted by ethnic, racial, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religious and socioeconomic lines. A conservative estimate puts the number of women as victims of nonfatal violence by an intimate at one million each year. Almost one in three adult women have had at least physical assault experience by a partner during adulthood and twenty eight percent of all annual violence against women is by intimates. Five percent of all annual violence perpetuated against men is again by intimates. The potential risk to a woman increases dramatically when she separates or divorces her spouse, as women are fourteen times more likely to become a victim of violence by the spouse or ex-spouse. (Domestic Violence: A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet)
Domestic violence could have a varying effect on the physical health. Physical injury, chronic pelvic pain, abdominal and gastro-intestinal complaints, frequent vaginal and urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV are some of these varied experiences of the victims of domestic violence. Pregnancy- related problems are another area of concern in the case of domestic violence where pregnant women are concerned. Women who face domestic violence during pregnancy face a higher risk for poor weight gain, pre-term labor, miscarriage, and low weight of the infant at birth, and injury to the fetus or even fetal death. Several psychological effects are also seen as a result of domestic violence. The most frequently seen effect is depression with nearly 60% of battered women showing signs of depression. The risk of suicide attempts is also high where women face domestic violence. Domestic violence victims could also experience Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD, which has the characteristic symptoms of flashbacks, intrusive imagery, nightmares, anxiety, numbing of emotions, sleeplessness, over-vigilance and avoidance of traumatic triggers. (Domestic Violence: A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet)
Domestic violence is likely to have serious immediate and long-term negative impact on children and these statistics are alarming. Every year 3.3 million children witness violence by their family members against their mothers or caretakers. In homes where domestic violence occur the chances of the children getting abused is 1500 times. Around half the men who abuse their wives abuse their children also. One study showed that twenty seven percent of domestic homicide victims were children and of these ninety percent were below the age of ten and fifty six percent were under the age of two. (the Costs of Domestic Violence to Society)
As we look into the details of the effects of domestic violence in children, it is significant to note that domestic violence and child abuse are often seen in the same families. Children face 15 times higher rates of physical abuse and negligence in homes where domestic violence occurs. Many research studies have indicated that in 60% to 75% of families in which the woman faces battering from her partner, the children also face the same threat. They are higher risk too of sexual abuse where domestic violence happens in households. Pressure to grow up faster than their peers is on them, as they often have to be responsible for cooking, cleaning, and caring for the younger ones at home. These children are also likely to get isolated. (Domestic Violence: An Overview)
Activities common to children like having their friends visit them at home may not be possible for these children because of the chaotic domestic scene. Psychosomatic problems are seen frequently in these children with their eating and sleeping patterns disrupted. Children who see domestic violence can also have behavior problems that could include aggressive behavior and violent outbursts. The cause of all these symptoms of domestic violence are emotional responses of the children which include anger, misery, intense terror, fear of dying, and fear of the loss of a parent. These children could also feel anger, guilt, or a sense of responsibility for what is happening which could inhibit emotional and social development. (Domestic Violence: An Overview)
It is sad that spirit filled Christian homes are also a setting for domestic violence. Many of the aggressors do not think it is not a right thing to force their victims into submission. Therefore Christians need to address domestic violence for it is; a criminal and sinful act and no interpretation of the Bible would support it. Others often tell abused women to submit meekly to domestic violence and turn another cheek like Jesus Christ did and they further argue that as said in the Bible to continue to do be good to those who are harming them and pray for them too. This many a time causes a good Christian being abused to wonder whether God is turning a deaf ear to their prayers or if something is wrong with them and doubt their faith in Christ. The fear of the wrath of God makes many victims of domestic violence continue in this abusive relationship. They would rather die at the hands of their spouse than break the marriage covenant by leaving and believe this sacrifice would be acceptable to God.
Some Christians see God as a stern judge who will punish them for their sins and a Father who will brook no disobedience. This belief makes them place the responsibility of their abuse on God and not the aggressor. Some victims feel that they are responsible for what is happening to them. They have sinned and so God is punishing them. The fact that a true Christian marriage implies that there is mutual respect given and received ensuring the equality of husband and wife has not been really understood by them and attempts to have this fact established in Christian homes is where the Christian clergy cam plays an important role. Sally was a child in a strict Christian home. Her fault lay in the fact that her father wanted his oldest child to be a boy to help in the chores of the farm and the child turned out to be a girl. Sally was raped at the age of 19 by a boy from another strict Christian home and fell pregnant. (Domestic Violence: Why Does it Happen? And How Can it Be Stopped)
To vent his fury her father, who also encouraged her siblings to do the same, physically abused her. Her mother tried to protect from all this but that was in vain. Sally is now a grown up woman with her own children. She just cannot comprehend why her father, who was an active Christian and a leader in church, could have abused her and the memories of her father's actions overshadow any concept of a loving God. This is an example of domestic violence in a Christian home and the next is an example in a Christian institution. Pam was employed at a Christian institution for nearly thirty years and during this period she was a victim of battering by her husband. Her pleas for assistance from her church members fell on deaf ears as they refused to believe her and so she finally approached her pastor.
This was when her arm was in a cast from a battering she had received from her husband and yet the pastor advised her to keep the relationship going in the name of the Lord. She did not leave her husband and continued in this violent relationship, as she did not want to bring shame on her church or to be isolated by her church members. In addition she felt she would not be able to survive on her meager income. Therefore the answer to the question whether domestic violence occurs in Christian homes is yes, yet with God's assistance and skilled intervention this domestic violence can be arrested to give…