Why we do what we do
Restored is an international Christian alliance to transform relationships and end violence against women. We came into being in June 2010 after nearly two years of praying and researching as to whether any other Christian organisations were already doing what we planned to do.
It started for Peter in Mexico 2008
It all started for Co-Director, Peter Grant at the UNAIDS conference in Mexico in 2008. Before the main sessions there was a conference for Christians. A young Namibian woman got up and told her story of how she had hitch-hiked to South Africa and was raped on the way, then raped again at a safe house, contracted HIV and was rejected by her own community. She was now an HIV activist. When Peter looked around the conference he saw that the main response was from secular feminist groups, doing amazing work. This left him with the question though of ‘Where is the Church?’ & ‘Where are the men?’ Peter’s heart broke at the apparent impunity of men getting away with such abuse of women.
It started for Mandy in Zimbabwe
For myself (Co-Director Mandy), I had already been working on gender issues in Tearfund and already knew this was a huge issue. I was encouraged to focus more on it after a trip to Zimbabwe and meeting a pastor’s wife who was abusing her. She said she had prayed, changed her ways, submitted more but nothing seemed to work. She turned to me and said ‘You’re an expert, what more can I do?’ At that point my heart broke. It was the man that needed to change and the church, instead of challenging the Pastor, was complicit in allowing the violence to continue and blamed the wife. That was the start of a long road to forming Restored.
1 in 4 women in the UK; 1 in 3 globally
The statistics in the UK are horrifying with two women a week murdered by their partner or former partner in the UK. 167 women are raped each day. There is a huge need for the church to be equipped to understand the nature of abuse and respond correctly. With 1 in 4 women suffering abuse in her lifetime, there is a high chance that there are a few women in every church that have suffered abuse, and may be keeping silent. The church needs to ensure it’s not being complicit in the abuse too by what it teaches and being wise to identify abusive marriages. Men abuse women because they can and because they choose to & not because he was drunk, tired, angry, lost his temper. A choice is made to abuse.
Why doesn’t she just leave?
One of the questions we answer straight away is ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ In that 5 word sentence we have already shifted the focus and responsibility to the woman and minimised the impact of the abuse by using the word ‘just’ as if it was that simple. She would if she could. How often have we heard ‘why doesn’t he stop?’ The focus and responsibility is on the man perpetrating the abuse to stop. A woman is at most risk of death when she leaves an abusive partner. It is essential a safety plan is made so that she can leave safely.
Men are abused to
We also get told ‘men are abused to’. Yes they are and all violence in relationships is wrong. We chose to focus on this as male violence to females’ accounts for over 80% of domestic abuse. The UN stated that ‘between the ages of 15-44 more women are maimed or die due to male violence than through cancer, wars, malaria and traffic accidents combined.’ This is something that is totally preventable and can stop. We place information on our website for men who being abused to get help.
More answers FAQ's can be found here /faq/
So Restored aims to equip the church in knowing and understanding the very nature of abuse and its foundation (abuse of power and control) & to actively engage men in addressing and preventing violence against women. To this end in our first year we have produced a pack for churches on ending domestic abuse which is freely downloadable from our website here /resources/info/51/.
First Man Standing
We have also launched a men’s campaign with CVM called First Man Standing at The Gathering in June this year. We are asking men to
- Respect all women
- Challenge other men about their attitudes and actions
- Join the cause & pledge to end violence against women
We have free coasters/beer mats available for churches and events. First Man Standing can be found here /firstmanstanding/pledge/
Restoring a balance
In all that we do we aim to restore a balance of women and men working together to end violence against women and prevent it from happening in the first place. This is why we have two Co-Directors who share the role, one male and one female. Restored’s chair of the board is female and we have a gender balanced board along with two U25’s to ensure we include young people in our response.
Website and training
Our website is the main hub of resources which are free of charge. We also provide training for churches on what domestic abuse is and what the church can do (and can’t do). Take a look at www.restoreduk.org for the latest resources and blogs
Most of all we want the church to rise up and take action, to say no longer will violence and abuse be accepted in my church. This is our church. Violence and abuse must stop!
You can vote for Restored in the Christian New Media Awards, People’s Choice category here http://www.christiannewmedia.com/awards_peopleschoice.php
Follow us on Facebook 'Restored' and on Twitter @Rest0red