Statistics suggest that every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Most often, the abuser is a partner or a member of her own family. It is estimated that more than 3 women are murdered each day by their partner. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.
Domestic violence is not confined to the United States, statistics suggest that around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Recently, Avaaz listed the following statistics for sexual abuse: 25% of women in the U.S., 50% of women in Denmark, and 99% of women in Egypt.
Domestic violence by its very nature often occurs in the home and is witnessed by the children. Studies indicate that men who witnessed domestic violence as young boys are twice as likely to abuse their own wives.
For many reasons women do not report violence in their homes. Psychologists have researched the battered woman syndrome and find that these women are often isolated and feel ashamed. Also, escaping from or leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for the woman and can feel impossible if there are children. Therefore, women may stay because of the mistaken belief that the violence won’t escalate but in reality, abusers become more violent over time. Abuse is never a one-time event. See the Violence Wheel at http://domesticviolence.org/violence-wheel/
How are we to respond in a way consistent with the Dominican Charism? We are to study and know the statistics of prevalence and recurrence of domestic abuse.
We are to pray for all those who are victims of domestic violence. We pray for the perpetrators who are also caught in this system of violence. And we pray for the many children who witness abuse in their homes.
We are to speak / preach the truth that domestic violence is yet another example of today’s current heresy that violence, threats, and force are necessary. We live out this untruth in our homes, in our politics, in our business, and in our world relationships.
Let us ask God to change our hearts, to teach us the value and power of vulnerability, and to give us peace.