This week was the start of the international campaign of “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” (focussing on violence against women and children).
“Police statistics indicate that the murder rate of women in South Africa has increased by 16% in the past five years and the number of reported child rapes in the same period has gone up by about 3,000 from 15,000 to just over 18,000.” (EWN News)
According to research, intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most common form of gender-based violence (GBV). GBV includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviours by a current or former intimate partner or spouse.
As Christian people, we ought to be at the forefront of condemning any form of GBV.
We are commanded in the Bible to love our neighbours as ourselves and to especially care for the weak and vulnerable. Husbands are called to love their wives and be willing to die for them.
Our churches ought to be safe-spaces where victims of abuse receive help, care and support. We ought to assist in reporting any perpetrators of violence to the civil authorities.
I wonder, however, if some of our more conservative churches may unintentionally promote intimate partner violence in their teaching about marriage and divorce?