Championing healthy relationships

and sexual wellbeing

Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week

More girls have been killed in the last 50 years, purely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the battles of the 20th century[1]. 

I’ll say that again.

In the last 50 years, more girls have been killed just for being female than ALL the men who died in ALL the battles in the last century! 

It can be hard to know what Violence Against Women means, but here are some true but quite depressing statistics:

  • Globally, 1 in 3 women will be subjected to gender-based violence. In fact, the reality is that the form of violence most women are most likely to face is domestic abuse.
  • Every day, globally, 137 women are killed by men who were supposed to love them – their fathers, husbands, boyfriends, and brothers decided to kill them instead.
  • In the UK, that translates to two women a week being killed by an intimate partner.

And it happens in churches too.

Research from the University of Leicester in 2018 showed that 1 in 4 churchgoers have experienced abuse in a current relationship. That’s the identical figure to those outside the church where 1 in 4 women will be subjected to domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime.  

You will be used to hearing us say that 50% of churches never talk about RSE, but for sexual abuse, it’s even higher! Almost 60% of churches have never mentioned sexual abuse and most, don’t have any information about where to go if someone in their congregation needs support for domestic abuse.

Most of us don’t really like to think about it.

We don’t want it to be true and so we look the other way, but we need to turn and recognise the problem so that we can create relationships that genuinely look like the marriage of Christ to the church, and stand against abuse, and create places of safety and refuge.

When we build great relationships, we model the kind of marriage that reflects the love of Christ to the world around us. You already know you can come to us for training in relationships and sex education, but here are some practical steps that you can take to make your workspace or church a place of safety.

  1. Pray for survivors: The NSPCC say that the number of calls they received from children reporting violence in the home, during the  World cup rose by a third. Why not take the opportunity to pray in a church service for those living in violent households? There is a direct correlation between the occurrence of major sports events and domestic abuse.
  2. Put up a poster:  You can put something on your website, or a poster or sticker on the back of toilet doors with details of your local domestic abuse services.  
  3. Get resourced: Restored has produced an excellent Church Guide to Responding to Domestic Abuse. They also have a Survivors’ Handbook, which provides invaluable information to survivors looking to find freedom. This would be a great resource to have ready to give to someone who may need it.  
  4. Get trainedThirtyone:eight and Restored run training which could equip your leaders to know how to recognise and respond to domestic abuse.  
  5. Get connected: Research the local provision in your area, so that you know who to signpost survivors to. Find out if there is any way you can support your local refuge – raising money, recruiting volunteers, or providing gift bags for families who have had to leave everything behind.  

[1] Half the Sky, Nicholas D Kristof