Members are afraid to be accused of interference in a marriage. In some cases, if the woman does report then she is met with more violence and sometimes death or she is
ostracised by family members including the congregation. Sometimes she is afraid to speak because economically she is dependent on the husband. We as a church need to revisit our theology, for our teaching at times perpetuates this situation. People are discouraged from divorcing because it is ungodly but fail to condemn violence which is equally ungodly. After all Jesus has come that we all can have life in abundance. If there is violence in marriage then that needs to be condemned and challenged by the Church, by the congregation. No one should live in fear of violence in the home. Clergy learnt that most of the perpetrators are men with high standing in the community. Some are clergy men, some business people, others hold positions in the Church. However, all the teaching on love, care, forgiveness, mercy, show compassion, are forgotten as soon as the family returns home. In the Church we are obsessed in increasing our Church numbers, however many people hear us preach and they know that it rings hollow, for our actions in the family are sometimes known. In fact, it has been found that many people do not want to enter church because of its double standards and its continuous failure to hold congregants to a high standard when it comes to Domestic Violence. We need to create a safe space for women to speak out. We need to put our money where our mouth is, meaning that we need to build, or support women shelters, it is no good just to speak about it. Actions are often louder than words. We need to condemn violence in the home without fear or favour from the pulpit. We need to have courage to ask people who are perpetrators of violence and those who hold positions in church including clergymen to resign and to get help. We also need to deal head on with male masculinity and patriarchal practices that continue to make women to be second class citizens, with no rights at all. We need to encourage our daughters and sons to have healthy relationships, that are not given to emotionally manipulation, physical violence, but encourage honest conversations in relationships, dialogue, without fear of intimidation. To all family members to get involved when things are going wrong and not to look aside especially when red flags are raised early in the relationship, for example when harsh words are used, punishment whether physical or emotional, when the relationship is only about the two of them and family and friends are excluded, this is a serious flag that often leads the woman to be isolated in marriage, with no support system and the violence is untold. If the boyfriend does not allow your daughter to see her girlfriends, that is a red flag. The man has tendency to abuse. If we do not get involved there is lasting damage to us and to all those that are involved. St Barnabas Parish of the Bluff Says No to Domestic Violence and we say this without any reservation. And to our congregants involved in domestic violence we say STOP and get HELP. See a psychologist before you destroy your family and yourself. To the wives or partners report him to the Police and get a Protection order. Ask the Judge that he should leave the matrimonial home to get help and only then can he return home. Harsh as this may sound, it is one of the ways to tackle Domestic Violence head on.
No to Domestic Violence (DV)
Fr. Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ