Domestic Violence is now a Household Name among Brazilian Women, blame the Church
A church could be judged by how it treats its members who are in vulnerable situations. These include the poor, exiles, widows, and orphans, who American Philosopher, Nicholas Wolter Storff, called “quartet of the vulnerable”.
And to add to the number of the vulnerable group are the Brazilian women who are victims of domestic violence.
Brazil is quite a dangerous place for women. In 2018, a woman was murdered every two (2) hours and another woman was beaten every two (2) minutes, on a daily basis.
On an average, 180 women were victims of rape. This statistical data placed the country among the world’s champions in aggression against women, according to the Anuário Brasileiro de Segurança Pública ( Brazilian Safety Yearbook).
And only 40 percent of this brutality against women were reported and registered, worsening the issue at hand.
This makes it easier to understand why indicators of violence in Brazil improved over the past decade, whereas violent deaths among women increased by 4.2 percent, between 2008 and 2018, according to the 2020 Atlas of Violence.
On the other hand, research carried out in early December, 2019, showed there are 59 percent of poor, black women in Brazilian Evangelical Churches, and these women were the hardest hit, as was obvious in the increase in homicide rate among black women, also according to the Atlas of Violence.
This could also be traced to the fact that 54 percent of Brazilian population is black.
Valéria Vilhena, a researcher, had interviewed many survivivors of domestic violence, as part of her Master’s thesis, which later became a book. The interviews revealed that 40 percent were female evangelical victims.
Valéria’s research exposed how churches and their leaders have contributed in perpetuating this violence by advising sister victims to submit totally to their husbands, and cry out to God for the conversion of their husbands, with praying and fasting, thereby treating a criminal issue with spiritual tools.
In extreme cases, this has resulted to murder of the women victims twice: the first time is the domestic violence they suffer, and the second time is through the scriptural backings assigned these domestic violence by clergymen, making it impossible for a whole lot of women to cry out and be heard.
No doubt, the whole scenario had produced an atmosphere of women, full of pain and resentment. And Ruthless men, living off the empowerment of church leaders.
Also of note is the role of negative family patterns on the attitude of women towards the domestic violence they experience. This is because there seem to be a conspiracy of silence that these women exhibit.. Another reason could be lack of financial autonomy, and so on.
Attorney Priscila Diacov, a mediator of family conflicts in São Paulo has given a legal point of view to enhance the biblical understanding of the concept of submission. Daniela Grelin, in her opinion talked about the dignity of the human being, male and female, created in the image and likeness of God.
Violence against women is a societal ill and should not be ignored nor treated with the slightest attention.
The body of Christ, on one hand, has the moral strength and content to drastically reduce, if not eliminate, these terrible statistical data, thereby becoming a part of the solution, and not the other way.
“It is important that those women are listened to, welcomed and that they receive adequate guidance to save their lives and their dignity”, Diacov says.