Opinion Domestic Violence and the Church

By Dion Evans,
Religion Editor

Sometimes before there are any visible manifestations of domestic violence, there is the manifestation of power and control.
What potential role does the church play in the manipulation of that power and control?
I believe church leadership must counsel according to the teachings of the Bible.
But what happens when a person in the relationship seeks to “use the Scriptures” to obtain power and control over a spouse or significant other?
In some instances the church is failing in its oversight of how the interpretations are applied within the relationship, thus setting up potential domestic abuse as a result of misinterpretation.
Once Scriptures are misinterpreted, and by default, misapplied, the couple is left vulnerable to at least eight identifiable behaviors that can lead to domestic violence.
First, the use of intimidation: this can be done by looks or gestures.  Second, emotional abuse: this can be done by calling one out of their names or seeking to make them believe they are guilty of something.
Third, Isolation: this can be done by controlling whom the person sees or where he or she can go. Fourth, minimizing, denying and blaming: this can be done by making light of manifested abuse, shifting abuses blame.  Fifth, by using children: this can be done by threatening to take the children away from the spouse.
Sixth, male privilege: this can be done by the man seeking to treat the woman like a servant or defining himself as a king.  Seventh, economic abuse: this is done by withholding money or not allowing access to family income.  Eighth, coercion and threats: this can be done by threatening to leave (even suicide) or threatening to report the other person to some government agency.
Any one of these eight issues is the groundwork for power and control.  Once someone within the relationship seeks to live beyond his or her control or power, the person may use physical or sexual violence to maintain that position.