October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Globally, one in three women experiences sexual or gender-based violence. In the United States, one in four women and one in nine men experience severe physical violence (Centers for Disease Control). The numbers are staggering, and those who seek to survive the violence exist in each of our communities. The United Methodist Church has a long witness standing against domestic violence. "We recognize that family violence and abuse in all its forms-verbal, psychological, physical, sexual-is detrimental to the covenant of the human community. We encourage the Church to provide a safe environment, counsel, and support for the victim and to work with the abuser to understand the root causes and forms of abuse and to overcome such behaviors. Regardless of the cause or the abuse, both the victim and the abuser need the love of the Church. While we deplore the actions of the abuser,we affirm that person to be in the need of God's redeeming love." (UM Social Principles, Paragraph 161.H)
To learn more about domestic violence and how you can engage in a ministry of healing and justice, Church & Society has created a four-session study entitled Hidden in Plain Sight: a call to end domestic violence, is a four-session. One in four women and one in nine men-they are in our communities. How will you be a vessel of healing and justice?