Domestic Violence is Everyone’s Business

Domestic Violence is everyone’s business. It would seem if we keep repeating this thought throughout this press conference that it would become a mantra that everyone might pick up and begin to understand, but unfortunately most of us go through life pretending that domestic violence happens to other people and not to people like us.
Some reason that it happens to poor people on television who are dragged half naked from their house, with women who have been hit and battered clawing at police begging that their boyfriend or husband be released. Sure it happens to people like that, but not to people like us. Some may argue that we are upstanding, middle class families and our homes are far from violent. It doesn’t impact us.
In many ways that myth that domestic violence impacts the poor and does not impact the more wealthy in our community is kept intact by silence. Men and women go through their everyday lives hiding what is happening in homes, pretending that everything is normal, but underneath there can be instances where violence flourishes and grows because the family has vested interest in keeping the disguise of normalcy intact.
For seven years I pastored a church in an upwardly mobile suburb of Buffalo. While there I was confronted by two cases of domestic violence. In both cases women were abused by their husbands and children were involved. In both of these cases the husbands posed as pietistic church members who most would be shocked to learn that they routinely were not only verbally abusive but would often slap, hit or push their spouse – in both cases it happened in front of children.
Both of the victims were professionals. They would conceal their wounds and bruises beneath designer clothing and makeup – holding up the pretense that they were a normal family. Fortunately for them, the church was able to intervene at a crucial point before a 9-1-1 call had to be made, and help these families. The victims had to come to the understanding that domestic violence not only happens, but no one and I mean no one deserves to be the victim of domestic violence.
In the aftermath, as the families healed, I learned just how much the community had to come together to support these women and children. Social workers at school had to be involved. The families needed therapy. The women needed medical attention. Teachers, church members, and families were impacted as they tried to help them become more whole and deal with the after effects of the abuse.
Domestic Violence is everyone’s business. It is yours and it is mine. In Christian Theology we believe that everyone is created in the image of God. As such every person has intrinsic worth and dignity. It is up to us to make sure that no one is treated less than that and is victimized by domestic partners. We must ensure that people are protected and guarded against violence. We need to hold the perpetrators of domestic violence responsible for their actions and we need to help the victims heal. It is our business, and as people of faith we cannot avoid it. Domestic Violence is everyone’s business.