Content warning: This reflection discusses domestic abuse. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
“Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly” (Colossians 3:19).
One in every three women has experienced some degree of physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. We may find ourselves in a position to assist someone who is experiencing domestic abuse. An understanding ear and companionship can be a saving grace to someone lonely and in fear. Yet, we must remember a few things when reaching out to a victim of abuse.
The Bible tells us, “Judge not, and you will not be judged,” and that is the attitude we should use when engaging with a victim of domestic abuse. Due to the amount of shame and self-blame often attached to domestic abuse, many victims will find it hard to open up about their experiences.
Instead of forcing someone in an abusive situation to act, reiterate the importance of their safety and happiness. Help them devise a plan that will allow them to leave without compromising their safety.
When guided by our faith, we can be a source of support for those experiencing domestic abuse.
This message is excerpted from “3 ways to help someone in a domestic abuse situation” by Kat Davies from the October 4, 2021, blog of the Women of the ELCA.
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