Church must help end domestic violence crisis

By Jessica Connor

Domestic violence has become a crisis in the Palmetto State, says the S.C. Attorney General's Office.

South Carolina ranks ninth in the nation when it comes to women being killed by men, and more than 36,000 victims annually report a domestic violence incident to law enforcement agencies around the state. During the past 13 years, an average of 33 women have been killed each year by their intimate partner.

Domestic violence knows no age or race boundaries. According to a Violence Policy Center 2010 report based on 2008 homicide data (the most recent), 39 females were murdered by males in this state “ that s 1.69 per 100,000 “ and 97 percent of these women were murdered by someone they knew. The average age of the victim was 43, with 19 black and 20 white.

Half of these women were killed by guns, and the rest were killed either by knife, blunt object or bodily force.

This is not acceptable. For a nation that prides itself on being civilized and peaceful, we need to do a lot more to protect our women from the daily terror so many experience in their very own homes. Besides, what would Jesus do?

This month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, United Methodist pastors are being asked to use their pulpits to help save lives.

When pastors or lay persons speak words from the pulpit indicating they are concerned about domestic violence, and express a wish to make the church a safe place, victims may be more open to trusting and talking with someone about their experience with violence, said Linda Bales Todd, Women s Advocate at the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society s Louise & Hugh Moore Population Project.

The GBCS is launching a new campaign, Preaching to Save Lives! and Todd implores pastors to schedule a sermon in October to raise awareness about domestic violence. Pastors can also sign a pledge of commitment on the GBCS website ( “ click on the Preaching to Save Lives box).

The GBCS also has resources that churches can distribute to raise awareness about domestic violence and how we can help stop it.

Let s end this crisis together. Where better than the church to start?

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