I saw this article, courtesy of the Star Tribune, today, and thought it was so appropriate during Domestic Violence Awareness month. For anyone who thinks that one person can’t make a difference, here’s proof to the contrary. Particularly to churches who think their hands are tied, the words I’d like to say aren’t fit to print. I’ve copied just the beginning of the article below. Please take the time to read the entire piece.
By Jean Hopfensperger
Diane Stores endured a violent relationship with her former husband for more than 20 years, unsure where to turn. A conservative Christian woman, she found that her church didn’t know how to help her and the community services for battered women didn’t feel right.
“Several times I’d leave, but I had nowhere to go so I went back home,” said Stores, of Forest Lake, who said she wanted services that offered not just physical safety, but food for her soul.
That yearning prompted Stores to create the Dwelling Place when she recovered from her abuse. The St. Paul domestic violence shelter holds a unique niche in Minnesota. It is the only faith-based shelter in the state, a place where daily devotions and Bible study are the foundation of recovery, said shelter staff and the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women.
This month the Dwelling Place marked its 10th anniversary, with a record of housing more than 1,000 battered women from across Minnesota and the nation. It also offers counseling and referrals to another 1,600 women a year.
Conservative Christian women, in particular, face spiritual obstacles as they grapple with leaving their husbands. Because they don’t want “to put asunder” God’s plan for marriage, said Diane Anderson, the executive director of the organization.
“They [the women] believe God hates divorce, and they believe if they do divorce or leave, they will commit a sin,” Anderson said. “They think they need to stay in the marriage, make it work. I’ve even heard women say, ‘Even if I get murdered, I need to stay in the marriage.’ ”
Understanding that logic, staff members counsel the woman that the sacred covenant of marriage of the Bible is not the same violent relationship they were enduring at home.
“They don’t see that God hates abuse,” Anderson said, “or that the marriage covenant is broken by that treatment…”
Filed under: abuse and the church, Family Abuse & Relationships, marriage | Tagged: domestic abuse, domestic abuse and the church, domestic abuse in Christian marriage, Family Abuse & Relationships, marital abuse |