Domestic Violence Awareness

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is observed annually in October. The General Board of Church and Society offers a downloadable resource, “Breaking the Silence,” can equip United Methodists to speak up and speak out about domestic violence.

The General Board of Church and Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education and Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the local churches of the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center at the United Nations.

The 23-page study is for use in local congregations. It focuses on the need for communities of faith to address systems that perpetuate domestic violence: causing victims to remain silent and enabling perpetrators to continue. The new resource is available through the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) Web site at “Breaking the Silence.”

This resource provides an opportunity for church members, either as individuals or in small groups, to study domestic violence through the lens of the Wesleyan quadrilateral of scripture, tradition, reason and experience. It uses Psalm 139 as its biblical text.

Extensive research

Relying on extensive research, the first three lessons of “Breaking the Silence” examine the importance of scriptural inheritance and historical church teachings. The final piece focuses on individual and communal experiences of people of faith as the Holy Spirit continues to work in their lives today.

The resource contains statistics and stories from around the globe to educate about the pervasive nature of domestic violence. It considers church teachings condemning divorce, and its stance on silence. It also looks at both the General Rules of John Wesley and the theology of hymns by his brother Charles.

In moving from knowledge to action, the study urges participants to embrace their theological task. It provides a reflection on advocacy through the quadrilateral.

The resource contains activities and encourages reflection through journaling.

Other resources

Other resources related to Domestic Violence are available on GBCS’s Web site:

  • Five downloadable brochures address specific types of domestic violence. They provide guidance for Bible study and discussion groups to explore the signs, causes and effect of domestic violence on individuals, relationships and our communities. These brochures’ topics include “Elderly Abuse,” “Child Abuse,” “Adolescent Bullying,” “Partner Abuse” and the “Community” impact of domestic violence.
  • GBCS similarly has developed a “Sample One-Day Seminar on Domestic Violence.” It includes schedule, tips for creating presentations, choosing speakers, and building awareness and advocacy opportunities.