October is here and more than half the year has gone! We ask ourselves where did the time go? For some man, woman, or child time came abruptly to an end due to violence at the hand of someone who proclaimed “You know I love you.”
October is “Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.” A month when our attention is turned to families living in homes of violence. One-More-Thing is the 2017 Campaign Slogan for And He Restoreth My Soul Project.
Society is living in turbulent times. It is as if someone gave free passes saying “do whatever you want!” I know our places of worship are under siege. And here we come asking One-More-Thing from you. Please know, it is hard for to ask you to concern yourself with One-More-Thing, but it is critical to the life of the church. God never said it would be easy to serve in a season of depravity.
Therefore, during October and throughout the holiday season, And He Restoreth My Soul Project will do all we can to provide information like the suggestions contributed by our friend from WESurvive Abuse, Ms. Tonya GJ Prince.
Our purpose is to; educate, enlighten, and encourage, and our hope is to help you find One-More-Thing to take hold of and act on.
Serving at the pleasure of God,
Darlene J. Harris
With over 22 years of service, Tonya GJ Prince is an expert on both domestic and sexual violence issues.
Her specific service emphasis has been dedicated to, crisis counseling, education, centering the voices of victims and cross-cultural empathy and understanding.
Tonya is an author, activist, advocate, Survivor, speaker, counselor, & mentor.
She has been recognized by women leaders in the community for her work as the founder of the not-for-profit charity Braid the Ladder.
Tonya enjoys family, friends, laughter, music, movies, storytelling, reading, writing, DIY projects, and stage performance.
Her personal healing recipe includes the teachings and values of her Faith, her culture, womanism, storytelling, music, select wise counsel, special friends, family and fellow activists/Survivors.
Tonya’s website address is http://www.wesurviveabuse.com
Tonya GJ Prince holds a BS in Organizational Management & Development from Bluefield College.
Eleven Ways the Church Community Can Help Victims
No matter what statistics say, no matter what is going on in society, when people in the community have a problem eventually they see a doctor or a faith leader.
Sometimes when people are dealing with domestic violence they turn to the church. But what can the church do?
Thankfully, there are many things that the church community can do.
1. Believe them. Whatever you are hearing, know that the situation may be far worse. For a host of reasons, it often takes victims of domestic violence a very long time to reach out and talk about their situation with anyone.
Many victims don’t tell because they are afraid of what others would think of them. They’re also afraid that no one would ever believe them. You can help them over that obstacle by believing them.
2. Stay ready. Stay prepared to help victims in need. Keep brochures and phone numbers to resources that are available in the community for people in domestic violence situations. Make certain that the resources are updated. Also, ask church members for referrals from the community.
3. Safety Plan. Know that in homes where there is violence a safety plan should be in place. You don’t have to know how to do this. It would help if you knew where to tell them to go.
In fact, you could help save lives.
Victims have said that through no fault of their own, violent episodes can escalate quickly. The reality is that entire family have been lost in the span of a minute.
4. Avoid statements of disbelief. Avoid saying things like: “He isn’t that type of person..” “I can’t see him doing that…” “He wouldn’t do that.” Too many people have found out just how wrong they were, after funerals.
5. Think about the family. Study after study. Story after story shows that children who grow up in homes where there is domestic violence suffer greatly. And, far too often children and other family members lose their lives because of domestic violence.
6. Train, train, train. Continue to get training on domestic violence. Unfortunately, it is extremely common so it is very likely that you might encounter someone involved in an unsafe relationship.
7. Couples counseling can be dangerous. Avoid couples counseling where there is violence. It has been shown that it increases violence rather than decreases violence. Well-meaning ministers may believe that if they know the couple they can help.
You aren’t dealing with an average couple. You are dealing with one person who has a severe problem with at least relationship abuse, power, control, and violence.
More intensive individual counseling may be required before couples counseling is even considered. Further, during periods of transition and healing, all potential victims must focus on their safety.
8. You are not alone. There are many other faith groups, activists, and community leaders that work with this issue. It may help to seek a recommendation.
One that can always be counted on is faithtrustinstitute.org. It is interfaith and has a wealth of knowledge that it shares in the most engaging ways.
9. Get help. This is a huge problem. The fact that it is so silent makes it even more dangerous. Consider inviting speakers from for events.
10. Accept. Accept that domestic violence isn’t a “disagreement”, a fight, a “couple’s dispute” or a different way of expressing love. Domestic violence is dysfunctional, dangerous, toxic and deadly.
11. Safety. Domestic violence is very complicated. Sometimes you won’t be certain what you should do in a situation. If ever in doubt think safety first. Just think: “What is the safest thing to do?”
Tonya GJ Prince
WE are louder than the silence……