The Domestic Violence Initiative of United Methodist Women
Historic Collaboration with United Methodist Men
United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men have partnered to launch a domestic violence initiative to raise awareness and provide training in United Methodist congregations. The two groups have endorsed the message of the National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women. The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church signed this in 2006:
We proclaim … that violence against women exists in all communities, including our own, and is morally, spiritually and universally intolerable. We commit ourselves to working toward the day when all women will be safe and abuse will be no more.
Currently, United Methodist Women members are participating in a survey on domestic violence, which is available through conference vice presidents and social action coordinators as well as online at unitedmethodistwomen.org. In addition, local units are invited to host a program along with United Methodist Men using the DVD and study guide What Churches Can Do, produced by FaithTrust Institute. These are also available for free loan from the conference United Methodist Women officers mentioned previously or by contacting email@example.com. United Methodist Men are in the process of promoting awareness throughout their organization as well. Together, we believe this will strengthen the church and build an effective response for those suffering from this abuse.
Raising Awareness in The United Methodist Church
In response to requests for training and more information, United Methodist Women is offering a series of webinars on Wednesdays from February 16 to March 2. Participation is free. Register by sending your name, conference, city/state and a valid e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Register between January 3 and February 11. You may register for one or all of the webinars. More information will be given upon registration. Webinar topics with dates and times are as follows:
What People of Faith Need to Know About Domestic Violence
Wednesday February 16
12:00 p.m. Pacific/3:00 p.m. Eastern
What Churches Can Do to Support Victims/Survivors of Domestic Violence
Wednesday, February 23
11:00 a.m. Pacific/2:00 p.m. Eastern
What Batterers Need from their Clergy and Congregations
Wednesday, March 2
12:00 p.m./3:00 p.m. Eastern
Interfaith Collaboration: Watch I Believe in You Documentary
Domestic violence is not just a women’s issue. It is an issue of faith. As a part of United Methodist Women’s work to raise awareness in local congregations about the issue of domestic violence, United Methodist Women has joined with an interfaith collaboration to produce an hour-long documentary I Believe You: Faiths’ Response to Intimate Partner Violence.
United Methodist Women partnered with Presbyterian Women, the Evangelical Church in America, the New York Board of Rabbis and the Islamic Society of North America. The resulting documentary explores the stories of women who have experienced abuse and the programs that faith groups have created to address their needs.
The documentary will begin airing on ABC affiliates January 9, 2011, and will be available for air through March 6, 2011. Call your local ABC affiliate and make sure I Believe You airs often during prime time viewing hours. Information about how to request the program is included below.
From rural programs such as the Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center in East Prairie, Missouri, to urban programs such as First Step in Detroit, Michigan, from prevention programs such as the Healthy Relationships at Herzl Camp in Wisconsin to recognition programs like the Mikveh Attendants program in New Jersey, from support groups at Emma’s Place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to healing programs at Mayyim Hayyim in Newton, Massachusetts, faith groups are exploring ways to stand with and help heal those who have been harmed by abuse.
Harriett Jane Olson, Deputy General Secretary of United Methodist Women, Dr. Traci West, author of Wounds of the Spirit: Black Women, Violence, and Racism, and the Rev. Barbara Certa-Werner, Executive Director of Harbor House speak to these ministries.
It has been said that if people of faith do not advocate for justice, we are complicit in the perpetuation of this crisis. I Believe You: Faiths’ Response to Intimate Partner Violence will go a long way in giving voice to the stories of survivors, making clear the assistance faith groups can provide and offering encouragement and direction for women still trapped in abusive relationships.
How to Contact Your ABC Station
- Find your local ABC station by checking your local listings.
- Call your local ABC station to express your interest in I Believe You: Faiths’ Response to Intimate Partner Violence.
- Meet with the ABC program director to let him or her know that this documentary will have a positive impact in the community.
- If possible, join funds with other groups to offer to buy time in the program or to buy the time slot so that the station will air the program.
- After your local station airs the program, let them know you appreciated it by sending a note of thanks. Be specific, including comments from viewers.
Copy this flier and share it with your local United Methodist Women unit, your church and other community groups. If you have comments about the documentary or wish to learn more about the domestic violence initiative, contact email@example.com.