Recently, the issue arose in one of the churches I work with. A male in a position of trust invited someone into his flat and made unwanted advances. The good news is that when the matter was exposed, it then allowed us to talk about the matter more freely, which will hopefully help people to feel safer in the future. The bad news, is that the male involved failed to recognise the gravity of the situation, and has had to be excluded from our church community. No woman should ever be made to feel unsafe or frightened, and the churches cannot ignore this issue. Here are some statistics that explain why the subject must be tackled in churches committed to liberation in all its forms:
- 45% of women have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
- At least 32% of children, mostly girls, experience some form of child sexual abuse
- At least 80,000 women suffer rape every year.
- In a survey for Amnesty International, over 1 in 4 respondents thought a women was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing, and more than 1 in 5 held the same view if a woman had had many sexual partners.
- 70% of incidents of domestic violence result in injury, (compared with 50% of incidents of acquaintance violence, 48% of stranger violence and 29% of mugging).
- Domestic violence is estimated to cost victims, services and the state a total of around £23 billion a year.