Friday, November 27, 2015

Violence Against Women

Yesterday an Ottawa area man was convicted of the first degree murder of his wife. His defense was that he was suffering from PTSD and not in his right mind. The jury concluded that he deliberately killed her out of jealousy and he was sentenced to a minimum of twenty five years before parole. There a chilling irony and great sadness that the perpetrator was sentenced on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

As many of you know, for nearly a decade before our move my wife Ruth worked first as a Child and Youth Worker, then as an Outreach Counsellor connected to a shelter for women and children who had left or were planning to leave abusive relationships. The mental and physical abuse her clients experienced was sobering, and often children were either witnesses or subjected to the violence themselves. When Ruth was the youth worker she could often see how the "sins of the fathers" was manifested in the next generation, as boys in the shelter were abusive toward their mothers.

When Ruth did that work she realized that too many women were still with their partners because of the expectations of their pastors and priests and Christian communities. She also found that in some mainline congregations which had less stringent theological outlooks on the inviolability of marriage nonetheless showed little interest in domestic violence because they assumed it wasn't happening in their churches. Yet Ruth had clients from those congregation, those who because of shame or pride were unwilling to reveal their circumstances to others.

We can pray and act for an end to domestic violence in its various forms. We can be aware that within our congregations there will be individuals who need support because of the abuse they and their children experience.


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