By Amy R. Buckley
Although domestic violence is frequently thought of as a private issue, only impacting intimate partners, it is a crime resulting in a constellation of issues that harm entire communities. We all have parts to play in healing this epidemic.
Jesus once told a story of a man beaten on a roadside between Jerusalem and Jericho. Robbers had attacked him, stolen his clothes, and left him half dead. A priest happened upon the beaten man and passed at a safe distance because he didn’t want to dirty his hands. Another member of God’s chosen people happened upon the victim, averted his eyes, and moved on. But a compassionate Samaritan, from outside the victim’s own community, saved his life. He climbed off his donkey, sanitized the wounds with wine, soothed them with healing oil, and bound them up. He placed the victim on his donkey, transported him to safety, and paid the full bill for his recovery—no strings attached. (Luke 10: 30-35)
Victims of domestic violence frequently end up beside the road like the beaten man. In over ten years of domestic violence (DV) work, I’ve noticed a pattern to victims’ stories: When reaching a breaking point, or sensing danger, they disclose the humiliating truth to a close friend, an extended family member, or faith community leader. The situation has usually escalated to the point that it seems unreal, and some wonder about the victim’s truthfulness. The victim receives judgmental questions: Why didn’t you call 911? Why did you provoke him/her? Why did you go back to him/her? How could you break up your marriage? You should go back to him/her.” Blame leaves many victims helpless on the side of the road with little or no regard for their safety and wellbeing.
Domestic violence is an epidemic. Frequently, it occurs behind closed doors, making it difficult to recognize. However, sometimes it spills into the public realm, causing shock or disbelief. Continue Reading in Shared Justice . . .
Amy R. Buckley, 2014