Last month saw many nations around the world mark International Women’s Day on March 8th. It’s a time to celebrate the achievements made in working towards equality between women and men but also a reminder of the work still to be done. In London there were a couple of marches on the day and a festival at the Southbank.
To mark the occasion Restored released its final video as a part of the ‘In Churches Too’ campaign. It focusses on the impact of abuse on a Christian woman. The video, in the form of a woman’s diary, highlights the misunderstandings and myths that can occur in our church contexts and communities. It tells the story of a woman in a relationship where her husband is choosing to abuse her. She prays that he will stop, she submits more, goes to marriage counselling but nothing changes. In the end we find out her husband, Tony, is a judge.
The aim of the video is to raise discussion and awareness about some of the myths in the church around abuse. We saw in the recent indicative survey in conjunction with Christianity Magazine that 16% of people responding thought that domestic abuse was a symptom of a woman not submitting to her husband. In fact, it’s a deliberate choice of the person perpetrating abuse. Nothing justifies abuse. It shows that we have some work to do in our churches on highlighting the foundations of abuse (inequality, abuse of power and control). We can all carry myths of abuse due to our background and culture. We need to be open minded to have those myths busted.
At Restored we believe that relationships can be truly transformed. It does however mean that the perpetrator has to take full responsibility for the abuse, repent, make restitution before any restoration of relationship can occur with ongoing accountability in place. We need to be wise and above all, keep survivors of violence safe.
[Article by Mandy Marshall]
Mandy speaking at the General Synod in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The motion on Gender Based Violence was overwhelmingly passed and now goes to dioceses and churches like St Stephen’s to implement.
Photo by Geoff Crawford