Chances are you know someone who has been a victim of domestic violence. Or you yourself are a victim. Why do I say that? According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in three women has been the victim of some sort of domestic violence.
One in three. That’s a staggering reality. Picture your Bible study group or those who gather for a service project or your book group. One in three.
When our organization gathered in Minneapolis this past July for our Tenth Triennial Convention (2017), our sisters in the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin brought a memorial regarding domestic abuse and violence and its prevention. With a vote of 289 aye and 3 no, the memorial was adopted.
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It’s October and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to bring the memorial to life.
The memorial calls on us to learn and act. We learn by educating ourselves “about the signs of domestic abuse and violence and the services available in the community by inviting shelter workers, social workers, counselors and police officers to speak.” NCADV offers helpful information on the signs of domestic abuse as does WebMD, among other sites.
Called to act
The memorial then calls us to act, suggesting several options, including
- Posting information for local domestic violence hotlines and other hotlines in church restrooms, on bulletin boards, in church newsletters, and in other publications,
- Assisting people in crisis by connecting them with agencies, professionals, and resources,
- Financially supporting the local domestic abuse and violence shelters and donating items for their “needs list,” such as personal hygiene items, food, clothing, furniture, toys, quilts, and attending their events and fundraisers,
- Volunteering at a local domestic abuse and violence shelter,
- Making every ELCA congregation, where possible, a safe space for victims of domestic abuse and violence, and making it known, and
- Using resources to further educate ourselves about domestic abuse and violence.
Learn and act. It’s a simple formula, but it’s one that can change lives.
Talk with the women in your congregational unit today and figure out how you’ll bring this memorial to life in your community. Be sure to report your actions to your synodical organizations because each synodical president is charged with reporting out by February 2019 on how women in our organization are achieving the work called for in this memorial.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA. Find other resources here.