Saturday, January 05, 2013


I was touched, as was my wife Ruth, by the generosity of St. Paul's folk to Bethesda House, the local shelter for women and children who have left abusive relationships during the Christmas season.  Ruth used to work at the shelter site, but for the last seven years has been an outreach crisis counsellor for the shelter, responding to the needs of women and teens who may not enter the shelter but need transition support.

Along with the mountain of gifts contributed on White Gift Sunday, the congregation gave $500 to supplement Christmas hampers to clients, and a number of individuals gave gift cards which can be redeemed at grocery and drug stores. Well done folks! This is faith in action.

Of course all this points out a grim reality. Domestic abuse continues to be prevalent in our society, even though it stays off the radar for most of us until we hear about a death. Yes, men can be abused as well, and are. But overwhelming it is violence in some form directed toward women.

You may have aware of the report released just before Christmas which estimates the annual cost to the Canadian economy for domestic violence at 7.4 billion dollars. This takes into account lost wages, institutional support, the costs of relocation and household dissolution. This really is a staggering amount. In addition the report says that more than 300,00 Canadians are affected by domestic violence every year.

I encourage you to continue your awareness, and your generosity. It is important for all of us to be aware of the signs of domestic abuse and encourage those we know to seek support. This isn't a "those people" situation. Ruth has counselled many women who are members of congregations, some of which encourage  them to stay in abusive relationships because it is supposedly the Chrstian thing to do. And as Christians we need to do everything possible to address this scourge on societal health.



LSDPB said...

I speak from a personal experience of being in a abusive relationship, I found enough strength and courage to get out twelve years ago. I always questioned myself how I was going to make it on my own, but am truly a stronger and prouder person for walking away and raising my daughter on my own. Bethesada House is a wonderful support mechanism within our community and I will continue to provide my support. My faith in God, my family and believing in myself saved me. LSDPB

IanD said...

That "Christian" justification ... the whole "stand by your man no matter what" thing just honestly makes me sick.

Religious tenants/traditions do not hold sway when someone's emotional, physical or mental integrity is compromised because of them.

Laura said...

Our daughter in grade 10 spent some of her Christmas break working on her major English assignment for the year and I was impressed by the teacher's desire to blend literature and social justice. The students had to choose a book with a social justice theme..some of the reflecting then was on the writing but much was in formulating a current campaign on their issue. Amy chose The Colour Purple and spent time thinking and writing about domestic violence. It is a gritty book, hard to read at times but getting inside the characters like these, however fictional,has opened my eyes over the years in ways that reading newspaper articles and statistics doesn't always do....we have had some good discussions....and today's blog added some finishing thoughts and prayers to the process....awareness is a good form of power. LSDPB..your own story is one of such hope and strength..thank you for sharing it.

dmy said...

Having spent the first 13 years of my life living within an abusive relationship this is a topic that I can relate to and still sends chills down my spine. My mother was very courageous when she left her husband with five children in tow and she never looked back, even though the church encouraged her to "stand by her man". She did the best she could in the 60's and went without to provide for my brothers and I. There was always laughter, music and simple things to keep us happy but what we appreciated the most was what wasn't there... the fear of him coming through the door and all h- - - breaking loose. At that time abuse was whispered about and was something you hid from your friends and neighbours, only family could understand and did what they could to encourage and help. Thank goodness and thank God for awareness, education and Bethesda House. Amen

David Mundy said...

Such meaningful responses! Thank you all.