Three weeks ago, I attended a funeral of Abuk Akek, a beautiful young women and mother of a 2 year old, at the prime of her life. Her boyfriend currently faces murder charges. She is one of the 22 women that have died from domestic violence this year alone. In the aftermath of Abuk’s death, it has emerged that warning signs aplenty were ignored, for example, the perpetrators record of domestic violence, neighbours’ calls to police.
As the shock of such a traumatic event subsides, people begin asking why such things occur. Was it God’s will that Abuk should die? Was her number up? Lets be clear about one thing, God didn’t kill Abuk. It is the actions of the perpetrator, period.
With religious platitudes, albeit well meaning, the truth about domestic violence is not told. The veil of secrecy and silence delivers a ‘hands off message’ to victims, perpetrators and bystanders. To victims, it says it is also God’s will for you to endure domestic violence; to perpetrators it says that our worshipping communities do not hold you accountable for your actions; to bystanders it is ok for you to stand on the sidelines and watch a sometimes deadly game.
One faith response may be this: I will be a channel of God’s love to those for whom life has turned dark and hopeless and starts by denouncing the sin of domestic violence as an epidemic that is everybody’s problem. We all need to look at this issue – not look away.
Unsure how? Our training helps people to effectively and safely call each other out; to confront abuses when they occur. Our workshops offer skill-building opportunities – helping men and women to a point of having many options for action with only one wrong answer – and that is ‘to do nothing.’