CHICAGO, IL (September 21, 2018) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and Yvonne DeVaughn, the director of Advocacy for Victims of Abuse, says there are a number of activities churches can do to show support for people who have suffered violence and to draw attention to the issue.
DeVaughn says churches can play a key role in helping to change attitudes around sexual harassment by acknowledging the stories of people who have been victims and publicly addressing the issue of all types of sexual and physical abuse. By focusing on the issue, the church can let abuse victims know the church can be a safe place for them.
Churches can include a Domestic Violence Awareness Sunday, DeVaughn says. Even if they don’t devote an entire service to the issue, they could include prayers, responsive readings, and other portions of the service to draw attention to the topic. They also can encourage attendees to wear purple—the color connected to DVA month—to worship services. The AVA resource page has numerous resources that churches can incorporate in the service or use for discussions.
Other ideas include:
- Host an AVA training.
- Make “Mending the Soul” Bible studies available.
- Gather people to paint tee-shirts together that tell their stories or someone else’s story. The shirts can be displayed on empty chairs or spaces in pews.
- Similarly, participate in the Clothesline Project. Women Ministries Triennial XIII included a clothesline of tee-shirts.
- Women or men can share their stories in a service or at a special event.
- Hold a candlelight vigil.
- Post the National Domestic Violence Hotline on social media (1-800-799-7233).
- Partner with an agency to talk with youth and college students about healthy dating.
Many other ideas can be found by searching online, DeVaughn says.