Imagine a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. This is the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day held on Tuesday March 8th 2022.
This may give us pause to ask, ‘in what way does breaking the bias affect domestic abuse in our society and in our churches?’
According to the Council of Europe (2020), structural inequality is at the root of violence against women and the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (2013), based at the University of Edinburgh, has found that domestic abuse is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality.
While abuse can be perpetrated by women against male partners and occurs in same sex relationships, domestic abuse is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men against female partners. As a result, the United Nations has identified domestic abuse as a form of gender based violence that is predominantly experienced by women and perpetrated by men (United Nations, 1992).
Churches therefore need to take time to reflect on their attitudes around gender and consider church structures and systems that discriminate against gender.
Are there any gender biases we hold that stop us from acting when we hear about domestic abuse in our churches? Do we feel that women, in their role as wives, must stay in abusive relationships? Do we ignore a disclosure of abuse because the husband has said the wife is ‘just emotional or having a bad week’? Do we ignore or collude with abuse because the abuser is a male leader in the church?
We need good men to step up with women in this call to action. Both men and women need to pause, engage in honest reflection and take specific steps to change the story for women. Join us to #BreakTheBias.
— Esther Sweetman —
Access Restored’s Church Guide here to better manage domestic abuse in your churches.