Preventing domestic violence

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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I remember one day I was sat in the lounge at home watching TV and the next thing I know I’m not able to move. I was paralysed with fear and shaking from head to toe. I had remembered a moment from the abuse I suffered. It wasn’t the first time I was haunted by these memories and it wouldn’t be the last. After each flashback to the past I would be exhausted and afraid to go out. I never knew what would trigger a memory until I started writing down when and how each event happened. I didn’t know that I was suffering PTSD until I did some research and recognised the symptoms.

This is the result for many women who have suffered domestic abuse. They get on with life and they work hard to get through each day. You wouldn’t know until you asked what was really going on for them. Once the abuse is over and the perpetrator is no longer in there lives most people assume they’ll be ok now. But this is not the end for them, they are still effected by the abuse and need help to deal with the memories and trauma of the abuse. Often they seem to be the women who are tough and hard but check with them and underneath you find that they are hurting and are haunted by the memories of abuse, words, physical actions and intrusive thoughts that are lies about who they are.

When survivors of domestic abuse experience the effects of it in there every day lives they need a space to be able to recognise it and process it. To talk about what has happened to them and what they feel now. They need compassion and respect and they need to know they’re not alone or weak. Each day calls for a mammoth amount of effort to get through it when you live with fear of memories of abuse assaulting you again and again. Facing these memories head on takes guts and an equally mammoth amount of courage.

In one of my fave TV shows West Wing the storyline starting with Josh being shot weaves in PTSD. It is real in the sense that this is often how PTSD sufferers feel.

JOSH You said you diagnosed me in five minutes. What was the diagnosis?

STANLEY You have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

JOSH Well, that doesn’t really sound like something they let you have if you work for the President. Can we have it be something else? Seriously, I-I think you might be wrong about that. I-I’m not tryin’ to be difficult.

STANLEY I don’t think you are.

JOSH I know that I-I’m givin’ you cocky answers, I that should be…

STANLEY Listen…

JOSH I know that you want me to talk about my feelings.

STANLEY No I don’t, Josh. The last thing I want you to do is talk about your feelings. I think if you heard a tape recording of this day, you wouldn’t hear the word ‘feelings.’ What we need to be able to get you to do is to remember the shooting without reliving it. And you have been reliving it.

For survivors of abuse the end goal would be able to remember what happened to them without reliving it and being fearful.

So what can you do if this is happening to you. First of all you need to know that you are not crazy or mad but very normal and a survivor. You have survived a traumatic relationship.

Secondly you need to get help from other people. You need support. You won’t always feel this way. But you do need help.

Thirdly be kind to yourself, look after yourself and look for ways to nurture yourself.

Find helpful ways to ground yourself. If it helps to carry a certain safe scent that enables you to stay in the now or reminds you that you are safe when you’ve had a flashback then do that. What helped me was lavender oil. Or it may be that holding a certain object reminds you that you are safe now. A hot water bottle or a blanket or a book. Music can help in this way too. Mindfulness can help. Find what helps you to feel safe and use that to ground yourself.

If you want to understand more about PTSD the links below will help.

Helpful links:

www.tag-uk.net

www.mind.org.uk

assisttraumacare.org.uk

 

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Can We Talk by Toby Butler

Men in the United Kingdom face many difficulties, but also many opportunities. Gone are the days where men are pigeon holed into acting a certain way, due to the diversity of belief and culture on our shores. For example, it has become more socially acceptable for Dads to be stay at home parents, particularly within the predominantly white middle class, gone are the days where single stereotypes fully dominate, for example you can be a poet and a huge football fan, and long gone are the days that a majority of men open up willingly to matters of the heart, if this were ever true.
What does exist clearly are big repeated messages, such as to be masculine is to have control and power in whatever context. I was made redundant recently, and it was hard for many reasons, but the primary one was that another person had control over what happened to me. I was helpless however good I was at the job. I had no power, no control, and that challenged my own perception of masculinity. I want to provide for my family. I want to say I am successful down the pub. I want to feel like I have power in a situation. These feelings are not bad in themselves, but learning to channel and nurture them well is essential. I know my temper well enough that I must speak how I feel or the steam train comes quick. Often that steam train will be directed at those who love me mosI have many different types of male friends. Some atheists, some fire-breathing Christians, some agnostics, some lower-middle class, some very wealthy and some very middle class. Whatever label one assigns to a friend, there have always been three defining factors when considering someone a close friend or not. Openness, vulnerability and honesty. I struggle to act out these factors sometimes, and I have certainly spent swathes of my existence hidden. For example, I have always struggled with the temptations of porn, with gossip and with not believing in myself. This is a side I am very good at shoving down the sofa, even though it manifests in different ways, such as running away from a challenge, lustful thoughts and speaking ill of others. I wrote the song called ‘Can We Talk’  for the Dwell Project, which is a phenomenal charity preventing domestic violence against women. (Watch this video to hear it.) 

 

 

As much as my instinct would be to give every woman a good-hearted terminator security guard, I sense that peace and transparency always wins, in every occasion, even if it comes with short-term costs. Our judicial system is set up in this way. If a murderer pleads guilty, then the charges are less. If the murderer shows signs of remorse, this is also taken into consideration. I write and ‘spit’ poetry intending to connect to the heart of an individual, and usually in the process get changed myself, as I want to be an example of a transparent heart. Here is a lyric from the single:

We know its pride when men don’t talk 

We tell the world we feel cheese when we‘re just chalk 

Inner voice speaks to us plus we trust thoughts 

Suicide rates through the roof chimney falls off

Men must talk.
When we speak out how we feel, it breaks an inner chain of cold steel silence. The darkness wants us hidden, whereas freedom calls for us to speak out! Silence always loses; a voice always triumphs, even in the shadows. Talking to each other gives a window for us to redeem ourselves through our honesty. Here are a few more lyrics from the track:

Company will define you 

Intimacy/ into me see/ come on shine through

You once desired truth/but now you hire suits

Pouring gasoline on your dreams like they fire proof

The company we keep can easily define us, and there is no worse company than only ourselves. Men are made to be connected to reality, we are designed from our core outwards to be alive to others and we were created for much more than staring at screens and smacking other beings. There is such healing in telling others what is going on in our hearts. Truth will set you free. My wife knows me better than anyone, and she knows my struggles left, right and centre, but the incredible thing is, when she sees me prevail over my inner pain she can see the work of victorious light shining through me. This in turn gives her permission to do the same, and vice versa. Final piece of lyric:

The saddest thing for me is watching all your art go 

Part you, part fake, part half fast show

But I ain’t laughing at your silence as we pass bro

It’s good for men to talk so we can both pen our chart growth

It deeply saddens me that domestic violence is so prevalent in our society. I intend to never abuse or physically hurt my wife, but I know that one of the key ways this will never happen is if I allow male friends into my life. Legends are made from vulnerable men. This doesn’t mean we have to cry and cuddle, but it means I must not lie, and I must be open to what is going on in myself and share vulnerably. Fear is silencing, whereas truth is deafening. It’s time to speak to someone, as they may need to speak to someone too. Play your part in preventing domestic violence, by killing it in yourself. In an age of endless cyber connection, lets make sure our hearts are eternally connected to another, and the fruit will not be Apple’s growth, but Adam’s nourishment and flourishing.
Bless you all
Toby
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The BBQ & the Casserole – Chef Tim Hirst Guest Blog

I wasn’t dreading going home for dinner, but I wasn’t exactly relishing the prospect either. Going to the parents’ for dinner is usually comfort food heaven: proper old school roasts with all the trimmings, or a hearty casserole that hugs you from the inside; & always seconds or even thirds of pudding. But today Dad was cooking!

Tim & the lobster

Mum had broken her arm & so Dad had been drafted into the kitchen. I’m not sure whether he received a guided tour, a health & safety induction, or even a map to the kitchen; but it was certainly unfamiliar territory for my old man. Occasionally, Dad would have to cook for my brothers & I when we were kids & we knew that meant only one thing: baked beans on potato waffles, maybe with some bacon if he was really pushing the boat out. The thought that my dad went nearly sixty years without ever properly cooking somewhat horrifies me. Of course, he was a product of his time. Today’s modern man would never get away with such surreptitious shirking from the stove would he?
It’s certainly true that in the age of celebrity chefs & ubiquitous TV cooking competitions it’s far more normal to see a man in the kitchen. Most fellas can happily knock together a spag bol or chicken fajitas when required. Yet, I’d argue that there’s still a distinct gender division in daily household cooking. This disparity can be represented by two cooking vessels: the barbecue & the casserole.
Men love to barbecue. Every June or July, as soon as the sun promises to keep long evenings warm a very midsummer madness descends & men who have barely buttered a slice of toast all winter are lost within a fug of smoke around the barbecue. Suddenly, cooking becomes a macho, carnivorous activity to be done with a beer in hand. Whilst the sun shines, cooking is a man’s job. What is it about cooking outside over a naked flame that entices man out of his culinary apathy? Is it a primeval instinct, some genetic hardwiring to hunt, make fire & provide; or is it collusion with a long-enduring narrative of power? Man cooks when he wants, when it suits him, when there’s prestige in it. Even as Jamie’s disciples move from the barbecue into the kitchen, climbing the culinary ladder to experiment with beef rending & pad Thai; men still tend to cook to show off. We do the glamour cooking, the Friday night dinner party or the Sunday morning pancakes.
But when it comes to 6pm on a Wednesday evening, in most households, it’s still the woman who knows what’s in the fridge, who throws down her handbag, kicks off her shoes & wanders across to the stove. And sometimes, if the man is lucky, she might pull down the well-worn stoneware casserole & put on a stew. The casserole is slow & unglamorous. There are no flambés. There’s no need for gadgets. The casserole is hearty, nourishing & economical. It will often produce enough for tomorrow as well & it even tastes better the next day. It represents feminine cooking in that it’s no-nonsense, practical & everyday. Whilst our Jamie Oliver inspired men may break out into the kitchen on a Friday night to play Masterchef, it’s largely down to the women to reliably put dinner on the table day in & day out. Despite our pretences to domestic equality, it is often women who do the shopping, plan the meals & run the home.
Research suggests that 8 out of 10 married women do more household chores than their spouse & 70% of all housework done in the homes of cohabiting couples is done by women.
Ironically, the word we have for wisely using what you have & managing the household economy well is husbandry. Wives make better husbands. So what does all this matter anyway? Shouldn’t we be celebrating man’s greater involvement in the kitchen, even if it is limited to weekend glamour cooking? Yes, but it’s not enough. In previous generations women would often stay at home with the arrival of children. It was a logical division of labour for the woman to cook at home whilst the man was out working in paid employment. But now that both men & women often work, why should it still be the woman who comes home to the responsibility of putting dinner on the table? This doesn’t seem fair, and too often it can lead to the preparation of mid-week dinners becoming a laborious chore to be endured or avoided via microwave dinners & take-aways.
If the responsibility for preparing meals was shared, perhaps we would have more time to cook nutritious meals properly & share them around the dinner table. Perhaps us men could take pride in a quick mid-week veg curry that’s tasty, cheap & gives others time to relax after a hard day at work too. The barbecue’s fun, but the casserole is indispensable. Reassuringly, it’s never too late to start. That fateful night at my parents’ house; despite nearly sixty years of kitchen avoidance, my Dad, under the careful tutelage of my Mum, made a dinner that was comforting, nostalgia-inducing & delicious. He brought a casserole to the table. Newsflash! I’ve just spoken to my Dad on the phone. This evening he is cooking, from a step-by-step recipe kit, pork & apple sausages on polenta with a blue cheese sauce. Wow, if only I lived close enough to pop over!

10 Days to Go until Chef Tim Hirst kindly hosts a Dwell Dinner at Fusion Sheffield where we will screen our #NametheAbuse videos.

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5 Stereotypes of Men from 2014?

1. Qi Guy

Stereotype Qi
Qi Guy is devoted to pure logic & he’s rooted deep in Western culture. 500 years ago the philosophy of Descartes crowned Reason king. The Gutenberg Printing Press was invented & Martin Luther ‘The Married Monk’ began the Protestant Reformation on the basis that through Reason all men could read the scriptures for themselves. Rationality was institutionalised in civil society as an individually masculine trait in opposition to emotion which came to be seen as inherently feminine. Over time this had a negative impact on men’s mental health – perhaps one reason why today suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50.

2. Call of Duty Dude

Stereotype CoD
Call of Duty Dude is marked by an addiction to the ideas of danger, espionage & physique. This dude’s not new – he’s been around for a while. 200 years ago John Le Marchant set up the world’s first military academy at Sandhurst in Britain. George Washington set up West Point in the US & Napoleon followed suit.  These were the first national armies set up to train ‘gentlemen cadets’. Masculinity based on chivalry, honour & violence became institutionalised through the world’s professional militaries.

3. Downton Gent

Stereotype Downton
In the First World War most British officers were recruited from the Gentry – a class of hereditary landowners who controlled British politics up until 1924 when for the first time the son of a farmer & housemaid became Prime Minister. The Gentry institutionalised a masculinity which gave men the prerogative to have secret sexual affairs with lower class women whilst consigning their wives to unfaithful marriages to keep family honour & avoid scandal. Downton traces the story of the rise of Women’s Rights. Yet in 2014 the UK (23%) & US (18%) had fewer female MPs holding seats than in Afghanistan (28%).

4. Forbes Fellow

Forbes Fellow is driven by innovation, trade & people-management.  The era of Empire-building fuelled by the Industrial Revolution saw men become explorers, colonisers & sea-traders. The industrialists institutionalised men in charge of the work houses & factories. Over time these small industrial economies grew into global business economies mostly managed by men. In 2014 just 15% FTSE 250 company board members were women.

5. Relational Men

Stereotype Relational
Where do some blokes get the idea that we’re entitled to rational control, physical or political power, sexual or economic control over women? You don’t need to look back far into history to see where this ideology comes from. You don’t need to look hard today to see domestic violence against women is a global epidemic suffered by 1 in 3 women.
But there’s a growing tide of men committed to unlearning the lies we’ve been sold by history about being a man. There’s a growing tide of men who’re open to vulnerability. There’s a growing tide of men who put the adventure of healthy relationships above work, above honour, above power. Will you join us?

Keep your eyes peeled for our 2015 Campaign…

 
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Frocktober 2014: You can help prevent domestic violence!!!

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What is Frocktober?

Last year we ran a campaign called Frocktober on Facebook with the aim to raise awareness about domestic violence everyday throughout October with a selfie and the truth about domestic violence. Many of you were responsive to it & said you learned more about the truth of domestic violence. So we’re doing it again and we want to involve Christian and Muslim women. Each day of October 2014 we will post a different picture of a Christian or Muslim woman who wants to speak out about domestic violence with information about the myths & how to prevent it happening to you, your sisters & friends & colleagues. And where to go for help.

Why Frocktober?

Frocktober is not just about the dress, it’s about empowering women. Empowering each other to speak out about domestic violence. A devastating experience that 1 in 3 of us will experience in our lives.An experience that ends in death for at least 2 women a week! It’s about saying we will no longer be silent about the violence against women we hear about, we see and experience in our homes and communities.
When women all say together we stand against domestic violence, women of different ages, ethnic groups and faiths then we are stronger. Each one of us counts and together we are stronger. We are stronger because our voice is louder than the voice of one. The power of the group empowers the ones and twos.
The world today is full of violence, division, and separation but the holy grail of female empowerment is the idea that when women support each other, we’ll all become stronger and more liberated to make our way in the world.
Join us, share your voice and speak with us louder and stronger against domestic violence.

How to join the campaign?

Start by following these simple steps:
Step 1: Click & print this document all women
Step 2: Take a selfie whilst holding the piece of paper
Step 3: Email it to thedwellproject@gmail.com
Step 4: Like our Facebook page & follow us on Twitter to follow the campaign
NB: The pictures you send to us will be posted on facebook and twitter throughout October and be printed out as part of an exhibition which we will be running around the UK.
For more information get in touch with The Dwell Project at thedwellproject@gmail.com

 

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Stuck In The Middle

It was July 2012 & it was a lovely warm summers day outside. The Olympics had started in London & I tried to watch as much as I could on TV. Every time a British female athlete won a medal I cried. I cried because I felt strongly about the opportunities the female athletes had at the Olympics to compete in sports that historically they were counted out of. I cried because each time they won a medal represented a small victory against misogynistic ideas & it would inspire the next generation of girls who looked on.
4,847 women will take part in the London 2012 Games. Never before will so many have run, jumped, swum and ridden at an Olympic Games. Never before will any have boxed at the Olympics. Never before will every competing nation have been represented by at least one female athlete. And never before will a sporting regiment of women have had so many medals to win.

Robin Scott-Elliot, Independent Newspaper, Thursday 26th July 2012. Before the London Olympics 2012.

stuck in the middle
My husband & I were contemplating the new project we were setting up & its vision. The Dwell Project started in September 2012 aimed at preventing domestic violence in faith communities. As I thought about the purpose of the project I wondered if anyone would have a problem with it. Surely everyone wants to see an end to domestic violence, don’t they?! Therefore they wouldn’t have a problem with our aims.
A few months after we started we were meeting with groups from non faith & faith groups to discuss partnership work. We were surprised by the response from both groups. The response from non-faith groups was hostile & territorial. They didn’t think faith had anything to bring to the table & therefore didn’t believe a faith based project like ours could help end domestic violence. Wasn’t Christianity patriarchal & therefore condoning domestic violence, rather than as we believe, an inspiration for ending it? It was frustrating & discouraging to hear this over & over again.
Then when we met with faith leaders we would often come up against denial that domestic violence existed in their community. We spoke at churches to church leaders & heard the argument – what has this got to do with us? This doesn’t happen in our community. The influence & change they could bring to culture in their churches didn’t seem to change their thinking either.
From the beginning we felt stuck in the middle of these 2 responses & one question remained as urgent as ever: Will we as Christians be drawn further into alliances with male abusers or draw together to end domestic violence? We hope that we can have an impact on those who are in faith groups to face up to the reality of domestic violence in their own communities. Partnership is still an important part of who we are & therefore we won’t give up trying to work together with others.
Together we can end domestic violence. We can’t do this on our own. Our faith in Jesus is the reason we exist & Jesus himself is our model for how & why we work to end domestic violence.
We haven’t been shocked at these responses & we’ve also been surprised by really positive responses from faith & non faith groups to the work we are trying to do. Groups that we didn’t think would be interested have invited us to speak at their events. We’ve run interactive workshops for 82 faith leaders across the UK in the past 6 months.
saudi-woman-sport
The London Olympics was a great success for women’s sport all over the world but also a step in the right direction against sexism & gender inequality.
Lets keep on going as we have a long journey ahead & we’ve only just started walking.
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Brazil 2014 38%

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The Brazilian World Cup is just around the corner & plenty of us are inventing bizarre rituals to bring luck to the England side. My dad’s a life-long West Ham fan, which is where I get my innate sense of underdog moral authority. He often refuses to watch the very games he obsesses over because of bad omens over Upton Park his viewing brings.
Talking about his own footballing superstitions Arsenal fan Nick Hornby writes, “I have tried ‘smoking’ goals in & eating cheese-&-onion crisps at certain points in the 1st half; I have tried not setting the video for live games. I have tried lucky socks, lucky shirts, lucky hats & lucky friends, & have attempted to exclude others who I feel bring with them nothing but trouble for the team”.
Why do we create these comedy sports rituals?
Hornby goes on to write, “What else can we do when we’re so weak?  We invest hours each day, months each year, years each lifetime in something over which we have no control; is it any wonder then, that we are reduced to creating ingenious but bizarre liturgies designed to give us the illusion that we are powerful after all?”

World Cup research has revealed domestic violence in Britain increases by up to 38% after England games

Why is this?  In the Hillsborough disaster alcohol was infamously blamed as part of the cover up.  Blaming alcohol alone is often a pat answer to a complex question. In a game where we’ve invested so much energy as fans for 90 minutes we have no control over the players. No control over the managers’ or referees’ decisions.  No control over the results.  This can be unbearable if we think we’re entitled to control. There needs to be some relief. A loss engulfs us in self pity.
Ad men exploit this unhappy tension in a well-known chocolate bar World Cup advert.  I enjoy watching England more when I ignore the ads & ditch illusions of control. Unless we men become aware that there are many things in life (more than we like to admit) over which we have no control then domestic violence against women will never end.
As Christian & Muslim football fans our faith teaches us that we find strength in weakness. Recognising our weaknesses as men is not easy but is really good for us.  It makes us more honest, more true to ourselves & therefore better at relationships with women. Over the past 10 years in Britain football fan culture & the FA have been largely successful in tackling racism, which is good news.  2014 is the time for fans + FIFA to eradicate sexism + domestic violence against women & to save football as the beautiful game.

 

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Best Man’s Speech

www.dwelldomesticviolence.com
Dr Watson’s return to London is peppered with nightmares & flashbacks.  He’s back from combat in Afghanistan a lost & lonely soul.  Lost & lonely, that is, until he meets the world’s only consulting detective – Sherlock Holmes!
Sherlock Holmes’ obsessive devotion to scientific deduction works to his personal detriment – he has no friends! No friends, until Dr John Watson becomes a 221B Baker Street flatmate.
And so beneath the surface of the detective story begins the story of the greatest friendship ever.  But because it’s a male friendship it’s simply never talked about – unless there’s a best man’s speech to give. And in last week’s BBC episode ‘The Sign of Three’ Sherlock became exactly that – best man at Watson’s wedding.  Sherlock delivers one of the most entertainingly awkward & tenderly touching speeches, “I will solve your murder but it takes John Watson to save your life. Trust me on that I should know he’s saved mine so many times & in so many ways”
Last week I too had the honour of being asked to be best man at my friend’s wedding.  What can I learn from Sherlock & Watson?  Both characters need friendship to temper the humdrum predictability of everyday life seen through the lens of uncompromising applications of logic & an addiction to adventure.  But their friendship goes far beyond the functionality of sharing a common mission.  The secret to Sherlock & Watson’s friendship, I believe, is honesty. Because a friendship without honesty is no friendship at all.
Marriage changes things. It’s true from a fictional standpoint & for real friendships.  But for blokes I believe a healthy marriage hinges on honest male friendship.  Why? Because more women were killed through male domestic violence in the UK in 2013 than British troops were killed in Afghanistan over the last 3 years!  We lose more lives through violence in the home than through war.
Surely a sense of entitlement to power & control over women is at war with the heart of man.
Most blokes don’t commit domestic violence against women, but most men do have an influence on the culture of masculinity that allows other men to become abusive husbands, boyfriends, or exes.  By making our friendships with other men more honest we can change this culture.
Tonight’s final episode of Sherlock centres on the terrifying villain Charles Augustus Magnussen – the master blackmailer. How will Sherlock & Watson’s friendship fare? The power of blackmail lays in unrevealed secrets. Real friendships scratch beneath the surface of the false self –that Facebook version of ourselves we’re all tempted to project.  The Enemy will try to blackmail us into silence because – to varying degrees – we’re all complicit in this culture of control that’s allowed other men to abuse women.
If your mate’s using tactics to control his wife, girlfriend, or ex are you prepared to challenge him?  If you notice signs of abuse of power & control over women in your own behaviour are you prepared to get help?  It’s time to break the silence on domestic violence through male friendships.  The only shame is in staying silent.
3 things every Christian & Muslim Man can Do:
  1. Follow Dwell on Facebook & Twitter OR book a Dwell speaker for your faith group
  2. Sign the White Ribbon or First Man Standing pledge 
  3. Set time aside to pray & assess your own attitude towards women in your life
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What I’ve Learnt Praying about Domestic Violence

Dec 16 2013
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I pray for domestic violence to end. I pray for homes that are loving and safe for all women and for relationships between men and women that are loving and healthy where power is shared and control is only of your self and your own behaviour. I pray for emotional and physical healing for those of us who have suffered violence at the hands of men closest to us. I pray that we might be able to lift our heads and know love again. And as I pray I am forced to think, challenged to change, made to consider and realise my inadequacy.
When I pray I hope I’m in touch with what God feels about women who suffer domestic violence. His love for us and the anger and grief over what has been done to us. It gives me a heart of love for sufferers and survivors of domestic violence. It forces me to face the pain of domestic violence and makes me aware of my own feelings of extreme sadness and indignant anger at the lives shattered, relationships destroyed and the many deaths as a result of domestic violence. I have to face my feelings and I give them to God because otherwise they would drive me to despair.
I am also challenged about my attitudes and thoughts about men, generally. When I think of friends who have suffered violence at the hands of men who know them I am tempted to tarnish all men with the same brush but praying challenges me about that attitude. I am reminded that Jesus was a man who was not violent towards women in fact the opposite he was loving towards all the women he met. I need to remember the good men in my life who are supportive and loving towards me. And I ask myself the question do I encourage them to be better men?
In prayer as I look towards God, I come face to face with my own imperfections, my own character and my own behaviour towards others. Am I loving or do I hurt those around me?
Prayer forces me to consider the one person I want to avoid focusing on, the perpetrator. It forced me to consider him as a human being as a person made in God’s image. I have to consider him and his behaviour and face its evil and again give my feelings to God or be bitter, angry and depressed by these thoughts. Do I believe prayer will change the minds, hearts and behaviours of perpetrators? I think if God can’t then who can?
I start to question where is God when a husband, father, brother, partner decides to be violent towards a woman in the place that should be safe, where is God and why doesn’t he stop it? Why doesn’t he grab the man by the scruff of his neck and throw him out of the situation?

Prayer for me is honest communication with an awesome God

Its is not an excuse to do nothing but says we have a part to play. Brings God into a situation that seems impossible. Crying out to God changes me and gives me hope. And helps me to believe its possible to end domestic violence because I believe in heaven. I believe in heaven as a place with no pain, no violence and no broken relationships and I believe that heaven can come to earth through those of us who are lights, those of us who reflect God in our attempts to love and to end domestic violence here on earth. Prayer is bringing things to God that I don’t understand and says I can’t prevent domestic violence on my own without him. It says I need God to come and breakthrough in a situation that seems so evil that the light of goodness feels threatened. It says help God we need you!!! Prayer changes me and challenges me and through me changes the situation of domestic violence.
During this season of Advent I am reminded of heaven coming to earth through Jesus who for me is the bringer of light and hope to earth. I am thankful for Jesus and I am thankful that he has and can bring peace and love to homes where there has been fear and violence. We need His light, we need His peace, we need His love in every home!!!                                                                                                                         O Lord, come!!!
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5 Myths about Christian & Muslim Men

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5 Myths about Christian and Muslim Men:
“Men who go to Church don’t commit domestic violence!”  A recent Christianity Magazine survey revealed over ½ respondents – mostly women & regular church goers - had suffered domestic abuse.  Up to 10% evangelical Christians in UK experienced physical abuse in 2012. Read more
“It’s culture that causes Muslim men to abuse women!”  Ideas of honour & shame are often used to justify violence, but so-called ‘honour’ does not cause or excuse domestic violence.  There’s no honour in violence against women.  Domestic violence is a choice made by the perpetrator alone. Read more
“Men suffer domestic violence the same as women!”  A vast majority of perpetrators of violence are men & the nature of violence used by men is more severe than that used by women against men. Read more
“If men get involved in women’s campaigns, women’s voices will get pushed to the edges!”  There are very few examples of this happening.   A greater danger is a lack of men’s involvement in ending violence against women altogether. Read more
“Christian & Muslim men’s abuse of women is rooted in Christianity & Islam!”  Religion & scripture have often been used to justify men’s power & control over women.  But today more than ever Christian & Muslim men believe it’s our God-given mission – our dawah – to help end violence against wives, mums, daughters & sisters. Read more on Imams Against Domestic Abuse & Restored Alliance.
3 things every Christian & Muslim Man can Do:
  1. Follow Dwell on Facebook & Twitter OR book a Dwell speaker for your faith group
  2. Sign the White Ribbon or First Man Standing pledge 
  3. Set time aside to pray & assess your attitude towards women in your life
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