A note from Kelly King: Part of ministering to women includes ministering to women in abusive relationships. You may not know what to do when this situation arises, but you can know the hotline number below to help a woman get to a safe place. While I hope you never need to use it, our desire is to help you be prepared for these situations.
This is the number for the National Domestic Violence help line. If you don’t already have it handy as a referral, please add it now. If you are ministering to women in any capacity, of any age or background, this is an important number to know. There are many secrets people in pain keep, and domestic abuse in its varying forms tops the list. Additionally, the corresponding website, www.thehotline.org is a valuable resource.
When it comes to ministering to women experiencing abuse of any kind, there is a three-step protocol every care ministry should communicate:
- Get safe
- Get help
- Make big decisions
Get safe. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. Safety is number two in his pyramid model. Safety is second only to our physiological needs for food, air, and water. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, do whatever it takes to get them to a place of safety. Move out, get out, stay with friends, family, in a shelter—do whatever it takes to be safe. We are not able to make life-altering decisions from a place of fear. If you are helping women who are hurting, make available safe homes for women and children to go to along with having safe shelters or organizations on your referral list.
Get help. Whether it is professional counseling, pastoral care, mentoring, or a support group—get help. Getting help is about getting emotionally healthy. We are not able to make life-altering decisions from an unhealthy place.
Make big decisions. Making big, transitional, life-altering decisions takes courage and faith. It also takes a strong support system. If you are on the receiving end of that—take the help! If you know someone who needs support—be the help!
This problem of domestic violence of any kind against women is widespread and devastating.
There is a woman in your sphere of influence who is experiencing abuse. You may not know her, you may not know her story, but she is there. Let’s be leaders who see, ask, listen, and act. See—really see—the women around you. Ask clarifying questions if you suspect abuse in her life.
Listen well to her story and then help her to act—get safe, get help, make big decisions.