Increasingly, survivors are speaking out about the experience of Domestic Violence in Christian households. Women are being insulted, criticized, dragged, hit, threatened, humiliated and stalked by the men who have promised to love and cherish them. Some preachers are using their pulpit to condemn exercising this kind of power and control over a household, yet we know very little about whether these occasional messages are being heeded at home. The Royal Commission into Family Violence (Victoria) and the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland stated the important role that faith communities have to play into curbing this social disease, yet what steps have Australian churches taken in response, and how many women and children have become safer as a result?
Fixing Her Eyes joins The Centre for Public Christianity in calling for a comprehensive independent research study into Domestic Violence within Conservative Evangelical Institutions in Australia.
Here are just some of the research questions that need asking, and answering:
How prevalent is DV in Australian Christian families when compared with the general population?
Is DV more prevalent in Patriarchal, Complementarian, or Egalitarian families and churches?
What current strategies, if any, are in place to prevent and respond to DV? How effective are these strategies?
How equipped are ministers and other church leaders to effectively recognize and respond to situations of DV?
How likely are victims to disclose DV to their minister/church leaders? How does this vary as a function of gender of the minister/church leader?
What has been the experience of victims/survivors after disclosing to a minister/church leader? Have they been believed? Supported? What would they recommend ministers/church leaders do differently?
Are denominational ‘specialist’ teams (eg counselling teams, task forces, appointed DV contact people) functioning and meeting DV needs?
How have churches responded to The Royal Commission into Family Violence (Victoria) and the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland?
What are professional DV workers noticing in Christian populations?
Why has DV not been a greater priority for ministers/church leaders?
What rate of DV within the church do Christians deem acceptable?
Kylie is a Christian psychologist, and a graduate of SMBC.
Jen is the founder of Fixing Her Eyes