The American Baptist Churches of New Jersey established the Sacred Safe Spaces Ministry to work with pastors and their congregations both to raise awareness of domestic violence and equip them to effectively intervene and support the healing process. Each ABCNJ church is invited to sign the Congregational Covenent of Nonviolence as a sign of their commitment to this ministry this prophetic ministry.
What is Domestic Violence? The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence defines domestic and dating violence as a pattern of abusive behaviors used to establish and maintain power and control over another person. This abuse can affect intimate partners in a current or past relationship as well as current or past household members. This violence can be physical, sexual, psychological, economic, emotional or spiritual. It includes any behavior which intimidates, manipulates, humiliates, isolates, frightens, terrorizes, coerces, threatens, blames, hurts, injures, or wounds.
Victims of abuse look like any one of us, but their spirit has been broken. They come from all races, faiths, cultures, educational backgrounds, and economic statuses. Victims usually feel helpless and have withdrawn from friends, and family – and have also likely limited interaction with their church family. They may feel financially dependent on their abuser, and are likely ashamed and embarrassed about their situation. They may be unaware anyone cares about their well being, are prone to doubt anyone would believe their experience. Usually they are unaware help and services are available to them.
Silence Hides the Violence
Domestic and dating abuse is more common than many people realize. 1 in 4 adult women, 1 in 4 female teenagers, and 1 in 7 men struggle in abusive relationships. Based on these statistics, if you know 10 people, there is probably at least 1 least one person, you know has been a victim of domestic violence. Between 2001 and 2012 6,488 members of American troops were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the same period of time, 11,766 American women were murdered by current or ex-male partners. Nearly double the number of casualties lost during war. Everyone is affected by domestic violence, and no one deserves to be hurt.
Are you safe?
This a good question to ask if you think may be a victim of domestic violence. If you are wondering about your own situation, please have a private talk with a friend, family or church member so they can help you process.
If you have been confided in by someone suffering abuse, don’t make judgements about the victim or their choices. Let them know that you are concern and want to be helpful to them.
You can help
If you are suffering from abuse, or suspect someone close to you is, please reach out to the NJ Domestic Violence Hotline listed below. This hotline provides free professional and confidential help, 24/7.
Don't forget, domestic violence is against the law. Calls to the local police department will also give the victim an opportunity to talk to someone from the Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) for helpful information about counseling, legal assistance, safe houses, and access to other resources.
NJ Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline
- Ph: 1-800-572- SAFE (7233)
- TTY: 1-800-787-3232
Join the covenant
Has your church signed the ABCNJ Congregational Covenant of NonViolence? If not, please review the covenant and consider adopting it.
If your church needs more information on this serious issue, or for more information on signing ABCNJ's Covenant of Non-Violence, please contact The ABCNJ Sacred Safe Spaces Ministry Coordinator using the form below