This staggering statistic has only grown worse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Incidents of domestic violence have increased 300% in China, 25% in Argentina, 30% in Cyprus, 33% in Singapore, and 50% in Brazil. 

In the face of this “shadow pandemic” of domestic violence, how do global Baptists respond?  

The Spirit’s Stirring

At the Global Conference of Baptist Women in 2021, Valérie Duval-Poujol (France) and Jenni Entrican (United Kingdom) led a workshop on the topic of domestic violence. As they prepared their presentation, they felt the Spirit’s prompting to expand the focus beyond a single event and to create something with more lasting impact. 

Meanwhile, Elissa Macpherson, President of the Baptist Women of the Pacific, was feeling the same yearning to take action. “As someone who works with women in churches all around Australia, it was a story I would come against often with women who just seemed to have a great life. But as we would spend one-on-one time together at a conference or after church, they would start to share their stories and I would hear over and over again the heartbreaking stories of domestic violence,” recalled Macpherson. 

“Then I took up a position working with women around the Pacific. The Pacific has some of the highest incidences of domestic violence in the world, so my heartbreak was taken to a whole new level,” she shared.  

Hearing the conversations that were happening worldwide around this issue, former BWA Women Executive Director Moreen Sharp convened a group to discuss how Baptist women could respond. Out of this gathering, the “Stand Against Domestic Violence” Global Initiative was born.  

The steering team for the initiative, coordinated by Macpherson, also includes Duval-Poujol, Entrican, Patricia Ihlenfeldt (South Africa), Margaret Warren (Australia), Beulah Wood (New Zealand), and J. Merritt Johnston (USA), the new Executive Director of BWA Women as of November 2021. 

A Global Resource Hub

With a passion to address the problem of domestic violence, particularly in the context of churches, the BWA Women team committed to develop an online resource – a global resource hub – to educate and equip individuals, churches, and communities to bring an end to domestic violence. 

The Stand Against Domestic Violence resource site, hosted online at StandAgainstDV.net, launched in November in alignment with the 2021 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  

The easy-to-navigate website is filled with high-quality resources organized by three central calls to action:  

  1. How can I learn more?  
  2. How can I make a difference?  
  3. How can churches get involved? 

“As people of faith, we must be on the frontlines – responding to needs with the love of Christ. That’s why the BWA is committed to providing resources like Stand Against Domestic Violence to equip individuals and faith communities to respond to this global issue.”
–BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown