Domestic violence and abuse is a topic that most people are uncomfortable even thinking about, let alone openly discussing. People don’t want to dwell on it, pushing willful ignorance as if somehow by them not be aware, it doesn’t actually occur. There are, we must admit, those who were genuinely not informed about this issue and only need to have their emotions and intellects sparked in order to encourage action. Then there are, sadly, those who have survived or are currently going through physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse, or even a concoction of them all. These people, who so desperately need to speak or need to be heard, are the ones that often don’t or can’t say anything out of fear or if they do, people don’t listen.
In fact, according to local specialists in the field of abuse prevention and awareness, the future of the abuse victim highly depends on the first person they are brave enough to tell. Imagine, you’re being beaten or raped regularly by a family member and the person you chose to confide in, whom you thought you could trust, calls you a liar! What hope would you ever have of leaving now? Of escaping this prison of control?
If someone opens up to you about being abused, LISTEN TO THEM. They need your help, not your criticism. They are in the dark and it is our job, as fellow humankind, to bring them into the light of hope and change.
Abuse happens to people of both genders, in all walks of life, of all ages, in all socio-economic backgrounds, and in every part of the globe. Often, it’s part of a culture, where displays of power are required to prove societal standing or some other need to show control of one person over another. It is a prevalent “cancer” that is not only debilitating, but killing individuals – mostly because those who could stop it look the other way.
The Seventh-day Adventist World Church has decided it’s time to take this problem head-on. The Women’s Ministries Department at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist has created a worldwide campaign against violence and abuse to women and girls. It is a campaign that is taking churches, and their local communities, by storm, encouraging at last much needed conversations and awareness in this delicate, depressing, and desperately true subject.
In conjunction with other Adventist organizations, local churches, and their communities, the “enditnow” campaign seeks to “resolve this worldwide issue” by encouraging community education programs, special awareness services, and even the signing of a petition to the United Nations to create awareness at the highest levels of global society of the gravity of this issue and the attention it needs.
You can sign the petition here: http://www.enditnow.org/forms/35/form_submissions/new.
Although this program was created by the Adventist church, “all individuals, church congregations of every faith, social groups, schools, and businesses are invited to join” in this campaign.
You know, issues like this are often ones that seem very distant. It’s always someone else’s problem. It is much more likely to happen to strangers than anyone I’ll know and what are the odds of it happening here versus some other, more dangerous part of the world?
Let me give some perspective: One out of every six American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Think of six of your closest female friends. Do you understand?
Myself – I know four.
Four women. Four friends…
I choose to not stand by and continue to let that number grow. Join the enditnow campaign in ending the violence against women. Learn more about the United Nations petition, how to run a campaign in your church or community, or how to support this effort financially on their website: http://www.enditnow.org/. There you will also be able to find resources that can help you or a friend who is dealing with any form of abuse.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (Edmund Burke). If we don’t do something, say something – who will? Let us not continue to turn our faces away and pretend as though we do not see, do not hear, and do not feel the pain of our sisters. It’s time to take action – let’s take action! Let’s end it now!
Allow me to make a postscript: Violence against men and boys is also a prevalent and growing problem in this world. Please keep in mind that these individuals are also in need of our support and prayers.
If anyone has any additional resources or hotlines they are willing to share, please comment.
(All quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from http://www.enditnow.org.)