7 percent of women in the U.S. have suffered intimate partner violence at some point, along with 12 percent of men, the CDC has reported. There are many physical and psychological effects of domestic violence on victims – physical injuries and disabilities and bodily effects of stress, but also anxiety, depression, and trust issues. Children witnessing violence in the home may grow up with emotional problems like anger, or may even become abusers themselves when they are adults.Share
In his apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis wrote of the problem of domestic abuse: “Unacceptable customs still need to be eliminated. I think particularly of the shameful ill-treatment to which women are sometimes subjected, domestic violence and various forms of enslavement which, rather than a show of masculine power, are craven acts of cowardice. The verbal, physical, and sexual violence that women endure in some marriages contradicts the very nature of the conjugal union.”
He also insisted upon the need for parishes and priests to be ready to deal properly with these problems: “Good pastoral training is important ‘especially in light of particular emergency situations arising from cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse’,” he added, citing the final document from the 2015 Synod on the Family. Catholics are responding to this dire need, organizing a prayer campaign for domestic abuse victims while trying to spread awareness of the problem and educate clergy on how to properly deal with instances of abuse.
A symposium on domestic abuse took place in July at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., hosted by the university’s School of Social Service. (Read more.)