I was impressed by a recent account (Church of England Newspaper) of the Rev Eleanor Hancock, who has described her experience of domestic violence. She writes:
'I lived for many years as a victim of domestic violence and abuse. Very much in love with my partner, I made countless excuses for his behaviour and, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I felt sorry for him. ... I escaped from my abusive situation many years ago and was lucky enough to have a good friend to go to. I also had the support of my family.'
She talks about how she was able to work through the hurt and guilt when welcomed by a church fellowship, and 'found the love of God personified'.
After explaining how she found healing and transformation, she writes, 'I believe that the Christian community has a big part to play in supporting families through sharing the love of God in practical ways and in helping to bring about long-term healing and acceptance.'
Some years ago I wrote a booklet called Home is Where the Hurt Is, because I was concerned that many individual Christians and churches were unaware of how common domestic violence was, and how to respond to it.
- Have you heard sermons or teaching on domestic abuse?
- Would women find a welcome in your church, and help in dealing with an abusive situation?
- What can we do to offer God's love to those who have suffered, or are suffering, from abuse?