By Victor Ochieng
The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s a good time to highlight the plights of domestic violence victims and campaign against abusers.
We also can’t burry our heads in the sand when the church is also bedeviled by cases of domestic violence. The house of the Lord cannot condone domestic violence. That’s why this month should be used to amplify the campaign against such evil acts.
So, if you’re experiencing domestic violence in the church, this is the time to open up about it. Bishop Greg M. Davis is on a mission to create awareness in the church on this vice.
Davis had an interview with Cheryl Fortune, wife of gospel singer James Fortune. In the interview, Cheryl spoke about the challenges she went through as a domestic abuse victim. She highlighted how, because of her status, she had to put up a brave face even when she was burning deep inside.
Before things blew open, most people didn’t know what Cheryl was going through in her marriage with James. In fact, for some people, it wasn’t a big deal until the time James gave her a bone-breaking beating that led to his arrest and eventual sentencing.
James ended up confessing in a candid interview that he was actually an abuser.
“I am basically stretching out and saying, you know what, I was a perpetrator of domestic violence. I was an abuser in more ways than one. But I believe that is how God is healing me,” Fortune told CBN News’ Efrem Graham in June.
“I was a perpetrator of domestic violence. I was an abuser. I thought domestic violence was just if you hit your wife, you slap your wife. But I found out there are 18 forms of abuse and only one of them is physical,” he explained.
Cheryl said that at some point, being abused became a norm. She’d at times head to church or a function right after being abused and would only wear a happy and strong face.
Even though she experienced domestic violence, she’d come up with excuses to justify her husband’s reaction. She’d say that maybe her husband was simply reacting to something she’d done or he simply had a bad day. In most instances, she used to choose to shoulder more of the blame and responsibility despite being the victim.
That wasn’t right!
Men and women in abusive relationships should take immediate measures as soon as they realize their partner is abusive. If it’s left for too long, a life is likely to be lost, and it’s happened in many cases.
As a community, we also need to teach our girls and boys not to grow up into abusive adults. They should learn to solve their issues amicably and understand the kind of pain and emotional torture that domestic abuse victims go through.
The church too should take a strong stand on rebuking domestic abuse. Each one of us has a role to play and we shouldn’t knowingly let anyone stay in an abusive relationship.