As human beings we have been created to be in community or relationship with other people. Our families of origin were the first opportunities we had to develop relationships with others. In some cases those families were healthy and we learned to be relational people. However, not everyone has been blessed with healthy families. In some cases, it was those very families that some people learned to fear others, be angry and be wary of what harm was about to be directed towards them.
For many years, relational violence has been referred to by many other names such as: wife assault, domestic abuse, woman abuse or “just trouble at home”. However, violence in our relationships, regardless of what it is called, is NEVER OKAY. It is never acceptable for one person to harm another person, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, race, culture or religious beliefs. So whether that harm comes in the form of hitting, punching, hair pulling, cutting, burning, hitting with words or hitting with false religious doctrine, it is never acceptable.
At ACT Associates we believe that violence is never acceptable in any relationship. We are aware that it is particularly difficult for men who have been assaulted by their partner, whether that’s a heterosexual partner or a same-sex partner, to disclose this act of violence. However, relational violence appears to know no sexual orientation boundaries and occurs at the same rate in same-sex couples as it does in heterosexual relationships.
How We Can Help You, If YOU ARE you are being harmed…
Domestic violence is a crime. No one has the right to harm you, regardless if you are married to that person or not. Tolerating abuse will not make it go away. In fact, it may encourage the offender to continue harming you because they may believe you agree with their distorted thinking.
How We Can Help You, If SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY is being harmed…
If you are the loved one of someone being harmed, this is the section for you.
If someone you love and care about is being harmed, encourage them to get help. If they refuse or if they are fearful, show them this website. Let them see that what is happening to them is totally and completely unacceptable.
If the person needs a safe place to stay, perhaps offer your home to them and their children. If it is a male that is being harmed, please remember that there are almost no resources in the community for fathers with children who are being abused. Extend a helping hand to them.
How We Can Help You, If YOU EMPLOY SOMEONE WHO is experiencing a domestic violence…
As an employer if you are aware that one of your employees is experiencing domestic violence or has been sexually assaulted, encourage this person to seek treatment and counselling. At times counsellors may need to see the person during work hours. Whenever possible, consider allowing the individual to work “flex-hours” so they can make up the hours but also get their work done in a timely manner.
Also, if the partner or child who is the perpetrator comes in to the workplace or continues with harassing phone calls – take action and intervene as soon as you become aware that there is a problem.
You may be required to call 911 for police assistance. This will certainly give a clear message to the perpetrator that violence will not be tolerated within your workplace.
If you have security guards, perhaps consider escorting the employee to their vehicle to ensure their safety, particularly if that person works late or unusual hours.
If domestic violence is problematic for some of your employees, you can be sure that there are many other individuals who are also experiencing domestic assault. Perhaps you want to consider having us come in and do a noon-hour brown bag lunch talk on domestic violence highlighting community and counselling resources that are available. We can provide a ready-made workshop or tailor make one for your specific environment. Give us a call.
How We Can Help You, If YOU ARE THE PASTOR OF SOMEONE WHO is experiencing domestic violence…
As a pastor, you hold a position of privilege and your voice will be heard on many different levels. Before we look at how to deal with domestic violence after it has occurred, it is also important to look at what you can do to prevent domestic assault.
- From the pulpit, you need to be preaching against domestic assault, child abuse, dating violence and elder abuse. It needs to be clear that no one has the right to harm someone else, under any circumstances.
- Pre-marriage counselling is an excellent opportunity to be clear about moral, ethical and legal responsibilities within the family. It also provides an opportunity with the couple at the beginning of their relationship, to reinforce the preciousness that each one of them holds in God’s eyes.
- Please do not turn a blind eye when you go out to the homes of your parishioners and you notice something is not right. This is not helping the vulnerable person. You have been called to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Here is a perfect opportunity to be God’s hands and feet in action.
- When you see harm is happening, please address the offenders directly and make them aware that you have expectations for things to change immediately. Some of those changes are as follows:
- Violence must stop
- No rationalizations
- Offer hope
- Hold him/her accountable
- If in doubt – check it out
- Do not recommend marital therapy
- If there are practical ways that you can be of assistance, please offer it.
- If there are concrete tools that a family might need, attempt to arrange for it to happen. For example, if you see one family struggling with budgeting there are probably more families that are also struggling. See if you can find someone who can come in to do a 3-week session on family budgeting. Or if you see that anger management is problematic for one family, resulting in domestic assault, arrange for someone to come in and run a group for individuals struggling with anger management issues. Where there is one problem, there will likely be more families struggling with the same issues.