You may or may not have heard the statistics.
Maybe you haven’t experienced it yourself or known anyone who has.
I met someone at Holy Comforter yesterday who had.
She is a young woman I’ll call Eleanor, even though that is not her real name.
She lives in Broomfield.
She has three small children whom she loves very deeply.
Eleanor is educated and articulate.
She told me that she never thought she would be in the situation she has now found herself in.
She had never prepared for it.
Or ever thought that she had to.
But it happened.
And her life has been changed forever.
You see, Eleanor is a victim of domestic violence.
The sad part is that she is not alone:
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
- Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
- 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
- The presence of a gun in the home during a domestic violence incident increases the risk of homicide by at least 500%.
- Domestic violence cuts across all lines in our society: economic, ethnic, racial, etc.
Eleanor has had to restart her life and the lives of her children.
She has had to figure out how to get work so that she can pay bills.
She has had to undergo therapy to work through the fear and trauma of her experience.
She called Holy Comforter because she was short of the rent amount she needed to pay for the month.
She had been referred to Holy Comforter by the local office of the Salvation Army.
She wondered if we could help her.
Because Holy Comforter has intentionally set aside funds for clergy discretionary accounts, we are able to help people in our congregation and our community with some financial assistance.
So, I wrote a check to her landlord toward some of her rent.
Eleanor was very grateful for the assistance.
I asked her if she had a faith community to provide spiritual support and she said she didn’t.
I let her know that Holy Comforter would welcome her and her children.
She let me know that she appreciated the invitation and would consider it.
As I walked with her to the door, she turned to me and said with tears in her eyes that her life right now is very hard; but, that she feels she is on the right path.
She thanked me again for the rent assistance, and we said good-bye.
In this season of Lent, the parishioners of Holy Comforter were asked to bring donations of toiletry items to the church during the Sundays of March.
The drive served as a reminder of our Lenten call to give alms to those in need.
By the 4th Sunday, all of the items donated filled 4 very large plastic bins.
They were delivered to A Precious Child, who helps families in need, and to Arising Hope, a shelter in Adams County for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence.
Please pray for Eleanor, her children and the many families like hers who are struggling to recover from domestic violence and abuse.
Pray that they will find the loving care, healing and spiritual support that they need.
Pray that our eyes will be opened to what we can do to help them.
Deacon Linda Brown