By Em Timmins
Just five short years ago, it was incredibly rare to see anything in the news about domestic violence. It’s a relief to hear also gender inequality acknowledged at the highest levels within faith organisations, such as the Anglican Church, as a cause and a consequence of violence against women.
I asked Dr Ree Boddé how this perspective is gaining momentum at the grassroots in faith communities?
“Over 5 years delivering workshops,” she said, “It is common to hear stories of emotional and physical violence, carried out by intimate partners. What’s emerging also are the stories of domestic violence on adults who survive it as a child.”
“After a workshop recently, Bob, which is not his real name, spoke to me about feeling helpless growing up with domestic violence as well as his sisters experience with an ex-boyfriend, which had left her confined to a bed in a nursing home, unable to walk, speak or eat unassisted. I am humbled each time by their stories of survival, courage and strength,” she said.
Anglican Bishop John Harrower, a long time active advocate against domestic violence says, “we need to continue to talk frankly about domestic violence and its impact on children, to view it as a crime and to build a culture that rejects not just violence against women but disrespect. It is no longer taboo. The solution for the victims and the thousands of others they represent lies with all of us.”