Christians for Biblical Equality

"I just want the violence to stop"


[Powerpoint Presentation from the workshop (With handout at the end)]



What is abuse?

  • Every couple has arguments or disagreements. In a respectful and equal relationship, both partners feel free to state their opinions, to make their own decisions, to be themselves, and to say no to sex. In an abusive relationship, one partner tries to dominate the other through physical harm,criticisms, demands, threats, or sexual pressure.

    For the victim and her children, this behaviour can be very dangerous, frightening, confusing and damaging.

Prevalence of family violence in Australia?

  • Family violence has a devastating impact on its victims and the broader community. While anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of family violence, most family violence is committed by men against women, children and other vulnerable people.


Prevalence of family violence

  • In 2006 the Personal Safety Survey interviewed 11,900 women and 4,600 men across Australia about their experience of violence and safety (Australia Bureau of Statistics 2006). Women are most likely to be physically assaulted by someone they know. Some 242,00 women had experienced physical assault in the pervious 12 months, and for these women, the most recent incident of assault was perpetrated either by a current or previous partner (31%) or by a family member or friend (37%).


Prevalence of family violence

  • In contrast, only 4.3% of men were assaulted by a current or previous female partner in the most recent incident (Australia Bureau of Statistics 2006).


Prevalence of family violence

  • Family violence: is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44, with one in five women affected by family violence.
  • Children who witness family violence can become nervous and withdraw, perform poorly at school, have difficulty socialising and experience a range of other developmental impacts.


What causes family violence?

  • Many people believe that family violence is caused by the abuse of alcohol or drugs, unemployment, financial stress, coming from a dysfunctional/violent family background, anger issues, stress, mental illness, male hormones, female hormones, provocation by women, culture, class, and so on.


What causes family violence (cont'd) ?

  • Although these and other factors may play a role in a particular instance of family violence, none of them causes violence.


Psychological or emotional abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse

  • Abuse in a relationship is never acceptable, regardless of the circumstances, and is never the fault of the victim. Abuse is not caused by alcohol, stress or the victim's behaviour. Abuse happens because the abuser wants to control and manipulate the other person. Physical and sexual assault, threat and stalking are crimes and can be reported to the Police.



"My family and friends didn't think it was "that bad" because he only physically hit me once. But the put- downs and manipulation were so much worse, the way he controlled my life. I really wish my family could have understood how horrible it was."



Recognising abuse

  • She seems afraid of her partner or is always very anxious to please him.
  • She has stopped seeing her friends or family or cuts phone conversations short when her partner is in the room.
  • Her partner often criticises her or humiliates her in front of other people.
  • She says her partner pressures or forces her to do sexual things.
  • Her partner often orders her about or makes all the decisions (for example, her partner controls all the money, tells her who she can see and what she can do).

Recognising abuse

  • She often talks about her partner's jealously', 'bad temper' or 'possessiveness'.
  • She has become anxious or depressed, has lost her confidence, or is unusually quiet.
  • She has physical injuries (bruises, broken bones, sprains, cuts etc.) She may give unlikely explanations for physical injuries.
  • Her children seem afraid of her partner, have behaviour problems, or are very withdrawn or anxious.
  • She is reluctant to leave her children with her partner.
  • After she has left the relationship, her partner is constantly calling her, harassing her, following her, coming to her house or waiting outside.

Why doesn't she leave....?



Should I get involved?

Many people worry that they will be "interfering if they get involved, or that it is a 'private matter'. It is equally worrying if someone is being abused and you say nothing.

Your support can make a difference.

If you approach her sensitively, without being critical, most people will appreciate an expression of concern for their well-being, even if they are not ready to talk about their situation.



How should I approach her?

Approach her in a sensitive way, letting her know your own concerns. Tell her you're worried about her, then explain why.

For example: ''I'm worried about you because I've noticed you seem really unhappy lately".

Don't be surprised if she seems defensive or rejects your support. She might be scared of worrying you if she tells you about the abuse.


How should I approach her? (cont'd)

She may not be ready to admit to being abused, or may feel ashamed and afraid of talking about it. She might have difficulty trusting anyone after being abused.

If the victim is a man, he may feel particularly embarrassed about speaking about the abuse as he may be seen as 'weak' or 'unmanly'.


What can you do to help her?

  • Listen to what she has to say.
  • Believe what she tells you.
  • Take the abuse seriously.
  • Help her to recognise the abuse.
  • Tell her you think she has been brave.
  • Help to build her confidence in herself.


What can I do to help her? (cont'd)

  • Help her to understand that the abuse is not her fault.
  • Help her to protect herself.
  • Help her to think about what she can do.
  • Offer practical assistance eg. child minding.


What can I do to help her? (cont'd)

  • Respect her right to make her own decisions.
  • Maintain some level of regular contact with her.
  • Find out about Intervention Orders and other legal options available.


Where can I go for more support and information?

  • If you, or someone you know, are experiencing family violence, there are a range of free services and support available to assist you.
  • Women and children experiencing family violence: Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service on 1800 015 188.
  • Men wanting to end their violence and abuse against family members: Men's Referral Service on 1800 065 973


Women, Abuse and the Bible

How Scripture can be used to hurt and heal.

    by Catherine Clark Kroeger and James R. Beck.

  • Keep the marriage or keep safe......
  • While the Christian community must continue to uphold the sacredness of the marital covenant, the church must struggle to understand the permissive will of God in instances where the marriage covenant has already been broken by violence and abuse. The importance of marital permanence must not be elevated above the sanctity of individual personhood and safety. We dare not over look nor minimise the destructive evils of abuse because of our high regard for the permanence of marriage.

    Kroeger, C. C., Beck J. eds, Women Abuse and the Bible p.29 Grand Rapids, Baker, (1996).

Galatians 3:28

    "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (NRSV).





  • Physical abuse:
    eg: hitting, pushing, choking, punching, slapping, pinching, pushing/shoving, dragging by hair, restraining; standing over tactics; threats with gun or weapons; damage to a person property; putting something out of reach of a person with a disability.
  • Sexual abuse:
    Coerced sexual activities ie. forced to perform acts which you find humiliating; forced to have sex with or in front of others; rape (with objects); forced to be constantly sexually available no matter how tired or sick or uninterested.
  • Emotional abuse:
    eg. Yelling abuse; name calling ; mind games; excessive controlling jealousy; crazy making behaviour; undermining parenting skills; criticising beliefs and abilities; put downs; threats to kill/ to harm/to suicide; harming or killing pets; stalking/harassment behaviour.
  • Social abuse:
    Public humiliation; isolating by being obnoxious to friends and family driving them away; preventing contact with friends and family; imprisoned at home; monitoring phone calls; excessive texting.
  • Financial abuse:
    Controlling all finances and denying access to money; coercion t sign contracts without being an equal partner or fully informed; gambling all the money away; overzealous scrutiny of expenditures.
  • Spiritual abuse:
    Undermining spiritual myths/practices; use of spiritual/religious rituals to abuse; denial of access to religious practices/networks; within some cults, use of brainwashing and controls over all aspects of life; forced to participate in rituals.
  • Systemic abuse:
    Myths and stereotypes about people e.g. indigenous, gay and lesbian, people with disabilities, prevent people from obtaining basic human rights.  People e.g. with a disabilities are often dependent on the people or systems that are abusing them.