Our hearts go out to everyone impacted and moved by the Sutherland Springs, Texas shootings yesterday, Sunday, November 5th. There are no words that can contain the emotions, the loss, the horror of this tragedy.
As the details of the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting tragedy unfold there will be many questions that may never be answered. Today we learned that law enforcement officers investigating the mass shooting at a church killing 26 people said that a "domestic situation" within the gunman's family may have motivated the killing. Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said during a news conference Monday, "This was not racially motivated, it wasn't over religious beliefs, it was a domestic situation going on."
Domestic violence within our communities, churches, and businesses is not uncommon. Yet only half of all churches have a plan in place for how to respond if someone shares they are experiencing domestic violence.
A LifeWay Research Study Conducted in 2016 found 37% of pastors are aware of an adult in their church who experienced domestic or sexual violence in the last three years, but only 52% of churches and many business lack having a specific plan or procedures in place for how to respond if someone shares that they are experiencing domestic violence.
Stronger than Espresso helps survivors reclaim what abuse took away, and we are experts on helping survivors and faith and business leaders navigate how to help. An event like this tragedy leaves many dealing with the trauma of the event, not knowing how to respond.
Here are some basic items all faith leaders and business owners should have in place and can be put into action if they learn of someone experiencing domestic violence:
1. Have a referral list with hotline numbers and shelters. See below for phone numbers and support information.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
This link has crisis numbers, links to US shelters and other support information: http://www.strongerthanespresso.com/crisis-care
2. Contact us. We're here to help. Through training, information and support, we can help you understand how to better respond when domestic violence is identified within your community. Links are below to two resources to help now.
Stronger provides expertise in: Evaluating and establishing a domestic violence program, how best to respond, establishing safety in the workplace, equipping lay leaders to provide small support groups for survivors and trauma healing for victims and their families.
Estimates say that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. We are answering the call to help provide healing to those that have experienced abuse. Traumas from abuse can last decades after the abuse and abuse can leave devastation in its path.
3. For individuals, you can have someone take the Are You Being Abused 15 Question Evaluation. This can help identify risk, see if additional help is needed and know next steps.
And here is some guidance to help someone evaluate their score.
1-2 - Yes, Take notice, strive together to improve troubled areas.
3-4 - Seriously examine relationships, seek help from qualified source.
4-6 - Relationship breaking down, ABUSE is the issue. Joint counseling is not appropriate until FEAR ceases.
7-15 - CRISIS INTERVENTION NEEDED! Seek individual help from sources / advocates familiar with abuse issues. Joint counseling is not appropriate.
If you answer “Yes” to 7–15 of the questions, seek help immediately!
You don't have to deal with this alone. There is a network of Domestic Abuse professionals who can provide counseling, information and resources. Depending on your financial position, much of this care is offered for free, or at low cost, based on your income.
Please seek the proper care and counseling to support you during this time. Call 9-1-1 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to help find resources in your area.
4. For church leaders.
Develop sermons and preach about abuse. Make it a topic that is brought out from the shadows, out of the darkness and into the light so healing and change can happen. At Stronger than Espresso we believe everyone has the right to be safe in their own home. Contact us to help connect with sermons other faith leaders have used to preach on this topic.
4A. For business owners.
It's estimated that victims of domestic abuse lose 8 million work days each year nationally that they would've had under safer circumstances. Further, the total economic impact of domestic abuse—adding up lost productivity with the expense of police, medical, and social services—is estimated to be as high as $7 billion. It is impacting your business bottom line and productivity. Developing a plan to respond to domestic violence and/or provide a healing support group for survivors can be a real value to your business and help employees feel safe and cared for.
5. Have a benevolence fund to cover basic expenses to provide a safe place to stay for a victim or their family to keep them safe until longer term arrangements can be made.
Provisions should be coupled with a systematic method to connect this person with local resources, safety planning, shelter and legal support as needed. Stronger than Espresso has local advocates as to domestic violence shelters to walk along the victims in this difficult time.
Domestic violence is not something that is a private family matter, or a woman's issue or a tragedy that "doesn't happen around here." Unfortunately, it is happening all around us, and in this case, as do many other domestic violence cases, the violence extends further out and injures others. Tragedy occurs and communities are never the same.
Praying for all who have been impacted.
Dr. Brooke Jones
President & Founder
Stronger than Espresso
469-307-8488 Ext 1
“Helping Survivors Reclaim What Abuse Took Away”