CHRISTIAN DOMESTIC ABUSE:The Hidden Church Disease
by DEAN CROSBY 5/30/2011 / Family
One of the most shameful problems facing the vast majority of Christian church congregations is the epidemic of domestic violence that many of its families are suffering from.In the vast majority of cases it remains a carefully concealed sin but occasionally sensational cases become publicly
exposed as in this incident which resulted in the divorce of two very prominent ministers:
"The Associated Press is reporting the severe beating of Reverend Juanita Bynum by the hands of her husband Reverend Thomas Weeks III. The couple which has been separated for some time now, met in an Atlanta hotel restaurant in hopes of reconciliation. Something went horribly wrong and a fight between the estranged couple took place in the hotel garage which resulted in Reverend Bynum being battered and severely bruised."
Just how much of a problem has domestic violence become in the United States,the nation that prides itself on being the world's largest exporter of military violence ? Try to wrap your brain around this:
"The former Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, stated that domestic violence perpetrated by males accounted for more adult female emergency room visits than traffic accidents, muggings, and rapes combined and is now the single greatest cause of injury to American women. He has accordingly declared it as a national health crisis."
Here are some truly astonishing and little-known statistics about this epidemic of raw hatred that is severely straining the moral fiber of the United States:
27% of American women will experience abuse (rape or physical assault) during their lifetime
16% of American men will experience physical abuse during their lifetime.
28% of marriages harbor physical violence while 53% contain abuse in a variety of forms.
32% of teens and college-aged adults will experience physical abuse in a dating relationship. 70% of this age group will experience some type of violence.
44% of women in domestic abuse relationships are raped by their abuser.
2.1 million senior adults suffer physical, psychological, financial, or some form of abuse or neglect each year in the United States.Only 1 out of 14 abuse incidents is ever reported to the authorities.
39.5% of women seeking abortions come out of or are currently in abusive relationships.
The divorce rate for non-abused women is 15%, the rate for abused women is 75%.
It is estimated that over 3.3 million of American children witness intimate partner violence (IPV) within their families. Witnessing violence is a risk factor for long-term physical and mental health problems, including alcohol and substance abuse, becoming a victim of abuse, as well as perpetrating IPV with other victims.
998,000 children are currently suffering abuse and neglect in the U.S.
49% of children living in homes where adult abuse occurs also experience direct abuse themselves. 100% experience indirect abuse.
89% of women inmates report having experienced sexual, emotional or physical abuse before incarceration.
Young women in Christian youth groups are less likely to report abuse, especially if they are dating someone in their youth group.
People with strong religious beliefs stay longer in abusive relationships because of their faith beliefs.
Abusers are more likely to go for help when their pastor tells them to seek counseling than if others encourage them; even more likely than if they are given a court order which mandates counseling for them.
William Bradford Wilcox conducted a study on the types of Protestants who engage in domestic violence.He examined the relationship between religious affiliation, church attendance, and domestic violence, using data on wife reports of spousal violence from three American surveys.The study found that the lowest reported rates of domestic violence occurred among church active conservative Protestants (2.8% of husbands committed domestic violence), followed by those who were religiously unaffiliated (3.2%), periodic church attending mainline Protestants (3.9%),church active mainline Protestants (5.4%), and periodic church attending conservative Protestants (7.2%).If we average these deeply disturbing numbers for church attending Christians,we come up with an average 4.8% abuser rate which means that a typical minister with a congregation of 500 people can expect to have twenty-two (22) families that are being tormented by this hidden social cancer.
Many ministers contribute to the problem because they tell the female members of their congregations who are being abused that they should continue to submit to their husbands and to ask God to give them the strength to endure the torture they are experiencing.Many ministers never advise a battered wife to leave her husband or separate regardless of the extent of the abuse she is suffering.By taking this socially and psychologically dangerous position they not only are endangering the lives of many women but they are in addition causing a plethora of mental,emotional and even physical problems to be visited on the children of the battered.Here is a list of the most common:
* low self-esteem
* mixed feelings toward parents
* lack of trust
* anxiety created by anticipating the next outbreak of violence
* guilt and depression in feeling responsible for the abuse
* fear of abandonment
Children living in violent homes usually turn very aggressive or extremely passive in their behavior. They usually experience problems in school not only through falling grades but also because domestic violence homes breed a higher rate of juvenile delinquency and substance abuse among the child observing victims. When they reach their teen-age years,it is common for children in violent homes to try to escape by entering into early marriages or even worse,pregnancies they hope will create early marriages.
So of course we desperately need to seek God's solution to this sickening problem don't we?
GOD'S UNIVERSAL SOLUTION FOR PEACE :
Matthew 7:12 (New King James Version)
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
GOD'S SOLUTION TO AVOID MARITAL ABUSE :
Luke 20:34-36 (New King James Version)
34 Jesus answered and said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
GOD'S SOLUTION FOR THOSE IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS:
Matthew 19:29 (New King James Version)
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or WIFE or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
NEVER STAY IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS !!
Until they reach their senior years,those who are violent prone very rarely
change their behavior permanently.
THE BETTER OPTION:
For Christ's sake flee to Him!!
Dr. Dean Crosby is a published author,instructor in New Testament studies, and Christian therapist. He holds a bachelors degree in communication,a masters degree in counseling,and a doctoral degree in psychology.He is the founder and director of the Christian Caring Center,a non-profit internet counseling agency.Dr. Crosby can be personally contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org but information about his counseling center should be requested at email@example.com