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The Silent Epidemic

The Silent Epidemic

Countless Christian women are battered every day. Here's how to respond if you or someone you love is abused.
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Her husband's comments were so routine that for 20 years, Brenda Branson didn't realize she was a victim of verbal and emotional abuse.

"You breathe too loud," her husband would tell her. "Your smile is silly. You look terrible. Don't you have anything better to wear?"

It wasn't until Brenda realized his comments weren't true that she approached him. And that's when he picked up a chair and hit her with it. Brenda knew she had to do something, so she went to her pastor. Unfortunately he wasn't equipped to handle domestic abuse; his suggestions about submitting to her husband only made her home life more difficult. "Our church didn't know what to do with us," Brenda says. "They just wanted the problem to go away."

Brenda got the help she needed by forming a support group with another domestic-violence victim. Then in 1995 she cofounded Focus Ministries, one of the few Christian organizations devoted to helping victims of domestic violence while also training churches on how they can assist members who are being abused.

You don't deserve what's happening to you. God doesn't approve of any man who beats, controls, or retaliates against his wife.

According to Detective Sgt. Don Stewart, a retired police officer who handled domestic violence cases for 25 years, one out of every four Christian couples experiences at least one episode of physical abuse within their marriage. In fact, battering is the single largest cause of injury to women—more than auto accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that 3 to 4 million women are beaten in their homes every year. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 2,000 women are murdered every year by an intimate partner.

"Domestic violence has become an epidemic," says Brenda, who is no longer married to her husband. The enormity of the problem, combined with the fact law enforcement officials and church leaders often lack the skills to address it, led Don to author Refuge (New Hope), a book helping victims understand and flee from violence in their homes. "I consider Don to be a missionary who offers hope to hurting women and presents a wakeup call to the Christian community to get involved," says Brenda.

Kyria.com spoke with both Don and Brenda on how battered women can get help as well as how Christians can respond to this crisis.

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Corrie Cutrer

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Related Topics:Abuse; Marriage

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Deb

May 27, 2014  11:18am

I was one who thought I had to submit to his meanness and he took advantage of that. I now am still married to him. I have no help or place to go to get away and my health is such that I cannot take care of myself. I have health problems which are genetic but I really believe that his meanness has helped to make them worse. I would highly recommend that anyone who is in a marriage which is even just a little bit abusive like is described in this article, to get some help and get away or have him or her taken away and get protection. Get a divorce and get your life back as soon as you can.

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Laura

January 14, 2014  4:04am

This is very sad subject...I also suffered abuse for a long time and my heart goes out to Anonymous. I completely understand and also know that the statistics of male abuse is unknown as men don't talk. Those men deserve the same understanding, help and love the abused woman get. Abuse, in any form, is very bad and unacceptable. The best things is to get out of the relationship. I walked away and suffered alot as he took everything from me. I had nothing, no money, no furniture, nothing but I had my dignity and my babies and that's all that mattered to me. I was lcuky my brother took me in and helped me back on to my feet. He also assisted in getting my stuff back from this man. I could at least go on. Today I am a very strong woman and will never allow that to happen to me again. Praise God for His protection over me and for giving me the strength to leave!

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Karen DeArmond Gardner

August 24, 2013  12:01pm

Corrie God used this article to shine the light on what my x-husband really was. Your article saved my life and gave me the courage to leave December 26, 2004. Now all these years later God is telling me to write my story to shine the light on a dark subject and tell how I walked out of the dark into the light. Redeemed. Restored. Walking in freedom.

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