Even in our own countries, and even in our own churches, statistics about the percentage of women who have experienced violence is staggering. Though violence against men is also a serious problem that deserves to be addressed, attitudes toward women add a different dynamic, an additional layer of gender discrimination and oppression play into the experience.
If you don’t believe that this is true, I would challenge you to listen more carefully to the voices of your sisters. Or, look at the number of men who die each day at the hands of women and compare that to the number of women who die each day at the hands of men. Or read the book Half the Sky, which shows hope amid the tragedy.
Jim Wallis adds, “The first step to addressing this crisis is acknowledging it exists, even within our church walls. The next is to do something about it.” Speaking about it from the pulpit is one recommendation.
Resources are available for churches who want to do something about it. Some can be found on the Safe Church website www.crcna.org/safechurch under resources for abuse awareness.
Each February I try to do something, not a big thing, just something. For example, taking a group of my Christian friends to see the “monologues” and organizing a discussion afterward, arranging to provide valentine gifts to women at the local Domestic Violence Shelter, learning the dance and participating in local One Billion Rising events.
One billion is for the one in three women who have been beaten or raped.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” So, in the face of “the most prevalent and the most hidden injustice in our world today,” where is the church? We must not stay silent.