Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hump Day Prayer . . . Domestic Violence Awareness


ONE: O God of compassion, you feel our pain and cry with us in our passion.

ALL: God of justice, you rage with us against the injustice of our experiences of violence and abuse. Be with us today.

ONE: As sisters of faith and hope, gathered here today, we remember:

Left Side: Our mothers, who had few choices; who did what they had to; who resisted sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly; who carried the secrets of their abuse silently in their hearts.

Right Side: Our sisters, who were made the scapegoat; who said, "No!" but to no avail; who thought they were protecting us; who were given tranquilizers to quiet their rage; who carried the secrets of their abuse silently in their hearts.

Left Side: Our neighbors, whose cries we heard in the night, whose bruises we saw in the day, who fought back and paid the price, who carried the secret of their abuse silently in their hearts.

Right Side: Our girlfriends, who spent so much time at our house, not wanting to go home; whom everyone thought were just shy and quiet; who carried the secrets of their abuse silently in their hearts.

Left Side: Ourselves, who may have tried to tell but were ignored; who were not protected by anyone; who were not believed; who carry the secrets of our abuse silently in our hearts.

Right Side: We remember and mourn the loss of childhood; the loss of creativity; the loss of vocation; the loss of relationships; the loss of time; the cost of resources required for healing; the enormous waste of humanity caused by sexual and domestic violence.

All: We remember and mourn those who have not survived; whose lives were taken by someone's violence; who died in despair never knowing justice.
(From Striking Terror No More, pg. 96)

[Voice 1 picks up the basket of stones, stands up, puts the basket of stones on the chair and exits. Voices 2 and 3 follow.]

ONE: Eleanor Roosevelt said, "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness!" I invite you to come forward and light a candle or bring a flower out of love for a woman you would remember. Call out her name as you light her candle. Let us hold these named sisters silently in our hearts.

Women, Violence, and the Church; A Service of Confession and Healing


Stushie said...

Miranda, there are also men who are battered, too.

Battered Men - The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence
835,000 men battered each year, silent too long ...

Becky Ardell Downs said...

This is true and can't be ignored or forgotten. Still, this is a very moving liturgy, remembering those women who are battered.

thelonebarista said...

First, thank you so much for this post.

Second, it is true there are battered men, but MenWeb is not a very reliable source for Domestic Violence statistics. While is true that women commit violent acts at similar rates to men in intimate partner relationships, the research shows that these are primarly acts of self defense or desperate reaction to prolonged physical, psychological, and/or sexual abuse.

In addition, domestic violence as a social evil is beyond acts of individual violence. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in which one person exerts power and control over another by using abusive emotional, physical, and or sexual tactics.

Again, I do not deny that there are battered men, but we live in a world in which it is socially acceptable for men to exert power over women whether in the workplace, home, or church. When this power becomes abusive, it is often ignored or condoned. The litany posted speaks to those silenced voices.

If you are interested in learning more about how we as clergy can respond to domestic violence in our communities try (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

for Christian and Inter-faith resources, check out

Ok, I'm done with my soapbox. Thanks again for this powerful post!!