Each year more abuse victims, perpetrators and family members seek help from clergy and religious leaders than from all other helping professional combined. (The Battered Wife: How Christians Confront Family Violence)
Women of faith may feel compelled to stay in abusive relationships by scripture mandating them to “submit to their husbands” or “turn the other cheek.”
Abused women often feel abandoned by God.
Rather than offering resources and alternatives to battered women, some pastors, priests and rabbis may have advised women to return to violent homes and “be better wives.”
Victims often have many spiritual issues that affect their understanding of abuse and their ability or willingness to get help. When religious leaders deny the problem or blame the victim, religion can be part of the problem. When they are informed, religious leaders become part of the solution and trusted allies in building peaceful homes.
It is important that the abuser be held responsible for his violence, even if he is a member of the church or a church leader.
The victim is not at fault and has done nothing wrong.
The children of victims do not cause the violence.
Clergy can help ensure the safety of the victim, encourage the batterer to get help and take the lead in preventing family violence in their congregation.
Violence can destroy a person’s faith in God and any sense of feeling like a loved part of God’s creation. When the whole person is attacked and threatened by violence, there is a great need for the whole person to heal.