A unique focus of the resource hub is faith communities. The site seeks to equip faith leaders and congregations to help victims of violence, but it also seeks to educate people about how the church can sometimes be complicit.

The site approaches the issue of domestic violence from all angles and for all audiences, including victims of violence, persons seeking to help a friend or family member, congregations and pastors, and even the perpetrators themselves. The aim is for anyone who visits the resource hub to come away with actionable steps to help stop domestic violence in their context.  

Drawing on the expertise of scholars and practitioners in the field, the steering team carefully vets each resource that is posted. New material is being continually added with a particular focus on expanding video content as well as increasing the number of languages represented on the site.  

The Role of the Church

A unique focus of the resource hub is faith communities. The site seeks to equip faith leaders and congregations to help victims of violence, but it also seeks to educate people about how the church can sometimes be complicit.  

Helen Paynter – Baptist minister, Biblical scholar, and one of the experts consulted in the development of the resource hub – studies how the Bible is sometimes used to harm others.  

“Abuse happens in churches really as commonly as it does in wider society,” explained Paynter. “And when it happens in a church setting, in a Christian home, the Bible is sometimes weaponized by the abuser in a whole range of ways. It’s taken and it’s twisted and it’s warped to try to make women endure suffering rather than walk away.”  

It is also sometimes mistakenly and unintentionally used by churches to cause harm to victims of violence, she says. For example, conflating forgiveness, an important Christian theme, with staying in a relationship with an abuser.  

“As churches or ministers, as those with influence in our denominations, we need to make sure we understand these [misinterpreted] passages really well and teach them in a way that helps our churches to be resistant to such abusive interpretations, helps those experiencing abuse to know when they are being fed a line that’s just a lie, and trains people up in ways that they know better than to use the Bible abusively,” says Paynter.  

The Global Resource Hub seeks to strengthen churches in the critical role they have to play in ending domestic violence in their congregations and communities, bringing about the change required for women, children, and families to thrive. 

Standing Together to Seek Change

Now that the Stand Against Domestic Violence site is live, the goal is to share this resource widely so individuals, congregations, and communities will be empowered with greater knowledge and understanding of how to confront this growing crisis.  

“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,” said BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown.

To further this effort, BWA Women presented the site to a global audience during the Stand Against Domestic Violence launch service as well as the United Nations 66th Annual Commission on the Status of Women. Both events included a live demonstration of the site, presentation of planned expansions, and a question-and-answer segment facilitated by the project’s steering committee members. This is just a beginning of a long-term emphasis on the issue of domestic violence for Baptists worldwide. 

“Never has there been a time when the voices of women have been needed as much or oppressed as greatly. Violence from one gender to the other is far from God’s heart and his good plan for us from creation,” said Karen Wilson, BWA Women President. “Jesus came to set things right. Modeling his love, we must stand together.”

Brown echoes this call to action: “I am grateful for BWA Women’s leadership of this initiative, and I call on all of us to stand with them in love with a boldness that transcends and transforms violence.” 

To find out how you can join the stand against domestic violence, visit StandAgainstDV.net today.