by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose, Toronto, Canada
"Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life." (1 Peter 3:7)
Why are women subjected to violence?
Violence, in any form, is not justifiable. Non-violence is the weapon of God and God's people. All women cherish abuse-free homes. Is it attainable? Yes definitely. A good Christian family would never allow any form of abuse in their homes. Peace is the hallmark of Christianity and Christians. Women may be weaker physically, but in no way are inferior in moral and intellectual abilities than men. Women are vulnerable to attacks and family abuse. So they need respect, protection, help, love and care. A husband should be sensitive to a wife's needs, and relate to her with courtesy, consideration, insight and tact. If men use their position to mistreat their wives, their prayers will be hindered. It is the word of God (St. Mathew 5:23,24) that is primarily applicable in family life. If we do not put a stop to abuse once and for all in our homes, it will perpetuate for generations and generations, and have a perverted progeny.
Statistics in Canada reveal that:
81% of Canadian women have been pushed, shoved or grabbed,
61% were threatened with being hit,
44% have had something thrown at them,
38% were beaten or choked,
36% were slapped,
27% were kicked, hit or bitten and
16% were sexually assaulted and raped.
One in six women has been abused even in pregnancy. Be willing to take whatever steps are necessary to help someone who cannot help herself. Let us start in our own homes first. Change your life, and then change the world - that should be the motto of all Christians. If we look around, we can clearly see the disastrous effects of violence in a home – yes, we see unhappy and resentful family members. On the other hand, a violence-free home is happy and peaceful. Remember that violence in a home affects children to a very great extent. When I got married, I took a pledge to myself and to God, to never ever get angry with my wife and abuse her in any way under any circumstances. By the grace of God, I have been able to follow it.
The Church has a decisive role to play in helping women in distress. They can set up shelter homes for abused women. Also, prayer and counseling help a lot. If you suspect a neighbor, friend, or someone you work with is being beaten by an abusive partner, call the police. Counsel her to leave and help her find support agencies; drive her to a shelter if necessary.
Jesus, save the women who are abused by their loved ones and others. Let peace, love and tranquility descend on our homes. Help and guide men to treat women with love and dignity. We ask this in the name of Jesus.
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