WMU of Virginia offers resources for domestic violence awareness

As a member of Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia’s (WMUV) Hope Team: Domestic Violence, Jocelyn Henry-Whitehead emphasizes that “domestic violence or intimate partner violence is really a global issue.”

As she seeks to help others break the cycle of domestic violence through awareness and education, she has participated in several conferences and missions trips across the U.S. and in Kenya, Rwanda, South Korea and Spain.

‘First pray’

“Wherever I go domestic violence is there in that particular place,” she said. An advocate for domestic violence awareness based on her own experience growing up in an abusive home, she added, “I’m so thankful that I can do this.”

Approximately a third of women worldwide face domestic or intimate partner violence, she said, citing World Health Organization statistics. Males can be victims, but females are disproportionately affected.

Many in WMUV’s domestic violence awareness initiative participate because of domestic violence suffered personally, Henry-Whitehead said.

A key factor of outreach addresses strategies churches, communities and individuals and groups can use to tackle the problem.

“Of course, the first thing is to pray,” she said. “We pray for relationships, we pray for marriages because domestic violence is across ages and stages and gender.”

Research involves locating shelters and answering legal concerns.

“It’s educating, equipping, encouraging, supporting people and empowering them,” she said. 

Brainstorming ideas during a recent conference included such options as publishing 1-800 numbers in church bulletins, distributing brochures and posting information in men’s and women’s restrooms at churches.

Facing it in churches

Churches can tackle domestic violence in inoffensive ways, she said, even including children’s, youth and adult ministry.

“For some people it’s going to be deliverance,” she said. “For some people it’s going to be restoration. For some people it’s going to be transformation and for some people it brings the opportunity to assist and help.”

Churches, missions organizations or others interested in domestic violence awareness initiatives may contact Valerie Carter-Smith, WMUV executive director, at vcarter@wmuv.org or Laura Davis, WMUV director of missions involvement, at ldavis@wmuv.org. (BP)