"Prepared for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation by Four Worlds Centre for Development Learning, Phil Lane, Judie Bopp, Michael Bopp".
"This study builds on many valuable contributions already made to the understanding of family violence and abuse in Aboriginal communities over the past fifteen years, especially in terms of mapping the complex web of factors that create and sustain this critical issue at the level of individuals, extended families, community systems and the socio-environmental context within which they exist. Closely aligned to this intent is the study's articulation of a comprehensive framework for intervention that addresses root causes and identifies a set of strategies for significantly reducing the horrendous levels of domestic violence and abuse now on-going in many communities". -- Executive Summary, p. ix.
The author is a Child Abuse Consultant at the Lake of the Woods Child Development Centre in Kenora, and one of 37 Anglicans to attend the fifth National Conference on Child Abuse, organized by the Institute for the Prevention of Child Abuse, held in Toronto October 22-24, 1991.
An ecumenical group has made a presentation to the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women in which they admitted that churches have not done enough to stop violence against women. The statement is called "And No One Shall Make Them Afraid (Micah 4:4)".
Toronto, January 11, 1988 -- Why are women victims of violence by men ?
That's the question asked in a new book published by the Anglican Church of Canada.
The question might seem naive or simplistic, but it defies easy answers. In fact, a complex mixture of social systems, ideas and assumptions undergirds a continuing scandal of abuse.
Violence Against Women: Abuse in Society and Church and Proposals for Change is a slim volume -- just 56 pages, plus a bibliography. But it contains a comprehensive review of the interwoven hierarchies of gender, race, class and patriarchy which support violence against women.
The book's analysis details the way in which each element in this mixture feeds the others. Startlingly, violence stands revealed at the end as a purposeful action; not a momentary loss of control, but a deliberate strategy to bring about a desired state of affairs.
The Church itself is singled out for some blunt criticism for its role in perpetuating violence. Historically, the church recognized "discipline" as a husband's duty. "Scold your wife sharply, bully and terrify her," advises a Fifteenth Century church publication called Rules of Marriage. "If this does not work, take up a stick and beat her soundly...out of charity and concern for her soul."
In the 1800's an Anglican group known as the Clapham Sect promoted "the cult of true womanhood," stressing domestic duty and subservience. The sect was influential not only at the time. It also helped to lay the basis of the cultural assumption that "woman's place is in the home."
An insightful theological reflection in the book examines some traditional interpretations of scripture, and points the way toward a new reading that will help the church reach out more to the victims of violence. "The church needs to beware of any theology that views marriage more as an indissoluble state than as a mutual covenant," it notes, "or that values the institution of marriage and family above the quality of relationships within them."
Among its suggest strategies for action, the book recommends:
-- adaption of marriage counselling programs to promote a new understanding of human partnership
-- consideration of a "wife abuse registry," which might function similarly to the child abuse registries already in use
-- greater education in the community to change attitudes which may condone violence against women
-- within the church, greater sensitivity to issues of language and imagery: "The experience of being battered has forced many women to ask if they can believe in God, when the images for God are male and when a predominantly male church hierarchy seems inattentive to their needs."
Violence Against Women was produced originally as a report for the Anglican Church's General Synod meeting in 1986. Its recommendations, received and commended by the Synod, led to the publication of this book.
Violence Against Women is available for $3.95 from the Anglican Book Centre, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, M4Y 2J6. Telephone (416) 924-9192.
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To arrange radio interviews please call: Kate Middleton (416) 699-2297.
For further information contact: Jeanne Rowles, Director of Social Action Ministries, Anglican Church of Canada (416) 924-9192.
1. expresses deep concern about the frequency of domestic violence and the sexual abuse of children;
2. asks Christian leaders to be explicit about the sinfulness of violence and sexual abuse whether of children or adults, and to devise means of providing support for the victims and perpetrators of such exploitation to enable them to break the cycle of abuse;
3. reaffirms the traditional biblical teaching on the value of the human person who, being made in the image of God, is neither to be exploited nor abused. CARRIED WITHOUT DEBATE Act 76
"Prepared for Ecumenical Family Ministries" -- verso of t.-p.
"This training package is an attempt on the part of an inter-church group, Ecumenical Family Ministries, to address some realities that volunteer and professional care workers face when the fact of family violence is recognized" -- Intro. p. 7.
Includes bibliographical references.
Annotated bibliography: p. 75-77.
Donna Hunter of Anglican Diocese of Toronto is acknowledged as one of the individuals who supported the author in its writing on p. 8 of the Introduction.