Pastoral Care to Battered Women

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Are churches providing enough care to battered women? Or is it such a taboo subject that we prefer to sweep it under the rug?

Battered Women

“No faithful interpretation of Scripture can tolerate or even Condone domestic violence” Rev. Becky Robbins – Penniman

Helping Battered Women

Domestic violence awareness is something every church should get involved in. Cooper – White (1996) recommends some goals that can help when looking at awareness programs: 1) consistently, intentionally integrate the issue of domestic violence in seminary education; 2) develop models of pastoral counseling focused on empowerment of women, and maintaining vigilance against socially reinforced stereotypes that blame victims or minimize or excuse perpetrators of violence from direct responsibility; 3) develop collaborative partnerships with local battered women’s shelters, domestic violence agencies, batterers’ programs, and knowledgeable clinical and pastoral counselors in the wider community

Battered Women

Pastoral Care To Battered Women

4) offer pastoral care for individual victims and survivors characterized by non-judgmental listening, interpretations of scripture that are healing and empowering, and faith-grounded advocacy in the wider community for justice;5) work in congregations to foster communities of support for victims and survivors through education and other means; 6) identify responsible batterers’ programs that recognize intimate violence as part of a larger pattern of socially sanctioned power and control over women, and uphold safety as the first priority.

Domestic violence is not something new; an example from the Old Testament is the story of Tamar (2 Samuel 13) who was abused by her half-brother Amnon. Many in the faith community do not respond with compassion when incidences of domestic violence are reported. Just like the response of King David to this violation, many church leaders sweep these things under the rug. If we are really going to help domestic violence victims, then “the church must engage in a collaborative effort and resource the community and professional who are trained to respond to specific concerns of the victim” (Mollering, n.d., p.2).

Pray Praying Hope Help Spirituality Religion Concept

“Pastoral care is perhaps the most important component which pastors and church leaders bring to the network of ministries and services needed by individuals and families suffering abuse and family violence” (Seventh Day Adventist Church, p. 1).

Faith leaders should know when they are out of their depth where caring for battered women is concerned. When needed the necessary training should be sought for the leader as well as all persons who will provide care. Leaders should never use God’s word to force or cajole a battered woman to remain in an unsafe situation.

A faith leader can be a source of grace and accountability in a domestic violence situation and such a responsibility should never be taken lightly. Everyone in this situation needs the support of the faith leader; the victim as well as the perpetrator is looking for guidance and help must be given when possible to both groups. The church family also needs to be ministered to in the case where the victim or perpetrator is a part of the congregation as this can be a very difficult thing to deal with. The faith leader can be that person who brings hope, healing and grace to all the persons who are involved in any domestic violence situation.

Click Here for the Full Paper

Cooper-White, P. (1996). An emperor without clothes: the church’s views about treatment of domestic violence. Pastoral Psychology, 45(1), p. 3–20.

Mollering, M. (n.d.) Domestic violence: The response of the Church. Retrieved from http://www.theraveproject.com/index.php/resources/resource/domestic_violence_the_response_of_the_church/

Robbins-Penniman, B. (n.d.). General Convention of the Episcopal Church of Southern Ohio

Seventh Day Adventist Church (n.d). A caring pastoral response

© 2014 Mardene Carr

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Mardene R. Carr is a tech-savvy Librarian with over 15 years of experience in Jamaica, USA, Cayman Islands, Bahamas and Dominica. For more on her work please visit

http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mardene_Carr

https://ucc-jm.academia.edu/MardeneCarr

https://conciergelibrarian.com/


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23 Responses

  1. Maria @ Confessions First says:

    This post makes a whole lot of valid, good points. I understand that some conservative Pastors are hesitant to promote a divorce culture – and now a days women seek divorce over anything – but a domestic violence situation is a completely different situation and it’s a very fragile, very serious issue. A Pastor who loves God and loves His flock would see the severity of it and treat these battered sheep with the utmost care.

    • Thank you Maria….I could not have said it better. Sometimes we are just in denial that these things could actually happen but we have to remove our heads from the sand because women should feel safe in the church

  2. Andrea says:

    and how many pastors are even bold enough to be speaking about that? They certainly should be!

  3. tara8910 says:

    Thanks for touching on such an important subject. I’ve been around a lot of churches and don’t remember much talk about helping battered women. As with many causes, the church probably needs to step it up!

  4. angie says:

    the church should be there to pick up what the world seems to neglect and let go of. We are there to love all and whoever needs love even the ones that are unloveable

  5. jmuddamalle says:

    Absolutely true. Sad to see so many churches and ministry organization neglecting this aspect of pastoral care.

  6. miragonz says:

    This is a great topic to bring to light. I think so many times it is swept under the rug because it is just so uncomfortable of a topic. It is so much easier to turn a blind eye, but that is not the right nor the Christian thing to do. Great post!

  7. So many hard issues that the church needs to address!

  8. Ifeoma Samuel says:

    Hi Friend, nice to join you over here!
    There is so much going on in the closet of the church and families. The earlier we face it the better we all would be….talk about an healthy church.
    Blessings friend

  9. chelseytschida says:

    Hm, how interesting. I am currently attending different churches trying to find one I can call home. A big complaint I’ve had is the church is a community and should be more “available.” This is a good example! Women need to know they can go to someone in the church for support, but sadly, this is not always the case.

    • Why is this the case is my question? There certainly are more women in the church than men, yet it seems that we speak up less and less. I have taken this on as my project and I am going to speak out against it as much as I can. This is not supposed to be tolerated in any church whatsoever. I hope you find a church soon. Take your time…I just moved and I took my time looking but I have found one that I really love.

  10. and how many of these are being hidden and not even being acknowledged by some churches? Sad if you ask me…

  11. Mary Collins says:

    Amen. The church cannot continue to pretend domestic violence doesn’t exist. Thanks for sharing such a much needed post.

    • My heart is aching over this even as I write it. Every church MUST have a policy in place for this but sadly many do not even want to discuss it. In their mind this is not happening but it is happening and many pastors’ wives are suffering because of it

  12. Reblogged this on Concierge Librarian and commented:

    As a church we cannot have out heads in the sand where domestic violence is concerned. So let us pay attention!

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