I love my church. We’ve attended for almost a year now, and it’s unlike any church I’ve ever been a part of.
Tonight there was a women’s group meeting and program. They have such a gathering once per quarter, however this was my first time attending tonight. The women’s group decided in its early stages to focus on ministries for a local battered women’s shelter. They have collected donations and even helped to supply apartments for women transitioning from the shelter to their own place. Tonight, we heard the story of one of those women.
She told her story about how she ended up in, endured, and survived an abusive and violent relationship. She shared statistics with us to help us understand the wide spread impact and the misconceptions regarding battered women and domestic violence. I was shocked when she shared with us that it is estimated only 20% of domestic violence events are reported. With that said, if my state reported 17,000 incidents last year — that is a mere fraction of the likely reality. She shared that most victims of domestic violence are not young adults, as I had once thought, but women aged 45-54 and these incidents most likely occur from 6-8 pm in July.
I was so moved by her story. Her tale of survival and emerging on the other side was inspirational. It was really something to hear her tell a painful story yet hold fast to the joy and peace she now possesses. I’ve known others in these situations, but it feels much too personal to ask about. Unfortunately, while it was a new story I heard tonight from this woman, it is a story that is all too familiar to those around me…..probably right under my nose. Yet I remain blissfully unaware. I pray one day this is a story relegated to fiction and not the reality for so many people.