By Stan Friedman
CHICAGO, IL (July 15, 2014) — A pop quiz:
1. How many teen girls/teen boys admit to experiencing physical violence in a dating relationship in the past year?
a) One in 5/one in 3
b) One in 10/one in 11
c) One in 15/one in 6
2. Victims of domestic violence in the relationship may stay because:
a) They believe that is what God requires.
b) They enjoy it.
c) They can later use the abuse as a reason to get back at the abuser.
3. Ministers are required to report to law enforcement allegations of child abuse/abuse by an adult partner.
The answers to these and other questions can be found in a new self-paced online tutorial for the faith community published by Advocates for Victims of Abuse (AVA), a ministry of Women Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church. (Answers also provided below.)
The course includes 10 lessons as well as a list of resources. It is intended to provide a biblical perspective on issues of abuse as well as practical suggestions for addressing the issue. It is not intended to address counseling topics.
A statement from the Department of the Ordered Ministry on the tutorial website reads, “It is our hope and expectation that everyone holding a Covenant ministry credential will, in short order, complete this basic tutorial. For some this may be a review while for others it will contain new information; however, it should become a goal that our entire community has common working knowledge and language for responding to this pervasive problem.”
AVA director Yvonne DeVaughn says, “A recent study by Sojourners reveals that pastors underestimate the prevalence of abuse in their churches, and they rarely address the issue.” She adds, “This online curriculum was developed specifically to help pastors, ministers, leaders, and congregants gain more insight and understanding and to raise awareness of and stand alongside those experiencing any form of abuse.”
DeVaughn adds that the tutorial aligns with the Covenant’s holistic approach to the gospel. “We believe God earnestly desires that we flourish and experience the abundance and fullness of life that Jesus speaks of in John 10:10. Abuse blocks human flourishing and abundant life. Learning more about abuse and its impact on lives is one way of working on this problem.”
For additional information about abuse and domestic violence, visit AVA’s website.
Quiz answers: 1. b 2. a 3. c