The other day I happened to go through some old writings from college and I stumbled upon something. It was a reflection I wrote in a Theology class where we had discussed the “texts of terror.” “Texts of Terror” is a term created by Phyllis Trible to refer to four narratives of disturbing violence against women that are depicted in the Old Testament. The class was, understandably, triggering for me. I had never heard these stories before. After the class I wrote a reflection to process.
Around the world, 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of abuse from a male intimate partner in their lifetime. In the UK the number of women who have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 15 is comparable. And a survey conducted by the CDC reported that 1 in 3 women in the U.S. experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
This is arguably the largest human rights violation of our time. And yet – despite this prolific reality being mirrored in the church, we have largely remained silent on this life-altering experience so embedded in our homes and neighborhoods.
The truth is that you know a victim of abuse. It might be your mother, sister, aunt, friend, or a teenager in your church youth group. The chances are she hasn’t felt safe enough to reveal the terrible pain she has suffered in the privacy of her relationship. Domestic abuse is easy to hide, but can be challenging to identify. In this post I go through how the Bible informs our understanding of domestic abuse.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please share to raise awareness in your circles! “I thought my dreams were about to come true when I [finally] got married. I left my family, friends, and my job as a pastor in Canada to move to the U.S. for love. I had waited a long time to meet a guy I could partner with in ministry. My American husband had wooed me with his discourse of our shared theological studies, passion for church work, and a vision of us as a happily married couple in ministry together. Babies would complete the picture of our Christian nuclear family. After our vows, I was shocked to immediately find myself in a different kind of nuclear situation: domestic violence.”