The church rejects all forms of domestic violence and urges women to protect themselves and their children, even if that means a separation and divorce from their abusers. Our church must help to protect them and assist them in freeing themselves from the violence.
As a community of faith we want to reach out to every victim of domestic violence. We encourage you to come out of the shadows and seek help. We want to support you in your struggle for peace. We want you to be safe and free, filled with love, joy and hope for the future.
Many of us here today know someone who is experiencing domestic violence. We need to assure them they do not deserve such abuse. Tell them you are concerned about their safety and their children’s and that they have a right to be safe. We need to listen to them and respect their decisions, but assure them that we will support them whenever they decide to leave their abuser.
May our community and our church be recognized as a safe haven for those who suffer domestic violence. As Jesus expressed his compassion for the poor and oppressed, including the women of his time, may we be seen as compassionate people ready to help victims of domestic violence free themselves from their pain and suffering.
Fr. Charles W. Dahm, O.P.
Preaching on Domestic Violence, October 2009
Watch the video below to see Fr Dahm's complete homily.
Domestic violence--a behavior pattern based on the use of power and control of one person over another that includes physical, verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse--is an epidemic in our society.
- Every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the United States.
- One out of every three or four women (30%) is battered once in her life time.
- More than 4,000 men murder their intimate partners every year. Two in five women (40%) who are murdered are killed by their husbands. While 58,000 US Soldiers were killed in Vietnam, 54,000 women were killed by their partners in the US.
- 95% of of the victims of domestic abuse are women.
- Four million men in America physically abuse their intimate partners.
- During pregnancy, 37% (1 in 3) women of every race, class, and educational background are physically abused.
- Violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44.
- Domestic violence results in more injuries that require medical attention than rape, accidents, and muggings combined.
Here at Catholic Social Service, we take domestic abuse very seriously. We teach relationship education classes that give individuals and couples the tools they need to de-escalate heated arguments, while building happier, healthier, and more sustainable relationships for everyone involved, including children. On the other hand, women often arrive at our office looking for assistance because, after leaving an abusive relationship, they have nothing.
What Can You Do?
Do you know someone who might be experiencing domestic violence--perhaps even yourself? What can you do, or say? The training video below, presented by Laura Patzner, Director of the Family Crisis Center in Great Bend KS, provides a definition of domestic violence, and covers topics such as a hypothetical domestic violence case, things to say or not say, and ways to take care of yourself.
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