At Common Grace, we are devastated about the deaths of 53 women this year due to domestic violence. We agree with our new Prime Minister who has recently described domestic violence as a “national disgrace”. We are beginning to build a community that seeks to offer a distinctly Christian response. Our work is just beginning.
Why a Christian campaign?
Domestic violence has long been a private issue. When current statistics point towards one in six women having experienced domestic violence in Australia, we know that within churches there are both victims and perpetrators. How the church and Christians respond to them is crucial in seeing justice, healing and transformation. In some cases, churches have responded to domestic violence in wonderfully supportive ways for victims. However sadly there have been countless times when the church has let women and children down, and sometimes put them even more at risk through disbelief, minimising the victim’s experience, or staying silent.
This inadequate response must not continue. We believe that the first instinct of Christians must be a genuine compassion for those who have been harmed in our communities. We at Common Grace hope that we can support churches and faith communities to be equipped to be safe and affirming places for women to disclose abuse. Where justice will be sought, action will be taken and real support offered. Victims need to have confidence that they will be heard and believed. That family violence will not be excused, that victims will not be blamed.
Jesus always protects the vulnerable and exposes evil. We want to follow the example of Jesus: our model for equal, loving, and mutual human relationships.
We recognise that gender inequality lies at the heart of domestic violence. That violent attitudes and behaviours have their root in the same place – the abuse of power and control of one person over another.
In Australia one in three women experience physical violence in their lifetime. One in six Australian women experience physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner, and one in four experience emotional abuse from a partner. And these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg of the brutality and horror of this epidemic.
Common Grace also believes that governments have a major role to play and we will be doing more in the coming months to call the Australian government to urgent, well-resourced action.
But right now, we need your help –
Common Grace wants the church in Australia to be supported to come up with strategies and practical solutions. So we want to know what churches and Christians are already doing to address violence against women and their children.
Does your church have a proactive strategy to address instances of family violence? Do you know of faith leaders who confront male dominance and call out sexist attitudes? Have you heard of Christian communities that challenge perpetrators and tackle the hard work of change? Are you working to make change inside or outside of these communities? Finally, have you ever disclosed abuse and been genuinely helped by a community of faith?
Thank you if you have already signed our petition that calls on the federal government to restore funding to critical services such as crisis accommodation, legal services and affordable housing. For those who haven’t, here is the link. Please share this with your networks.
We call on the Common Grace community to work together to make a difference to the thousands of women and children whose lives are in danger. We do not pretend to know all the answers. Please give us your ideas to help make this vision a reality.
Grace & Peace,
Erica, Nat, Cameron, Rachel, Deb, Bruce and all the Common Grace Team