Although domestic violence affects up to one in three women at some point in their lives, victims are often reluctant to speak out.Unfortunately, those who have the courage to seek help don’t always get a supportive reaction. Lack of support for victims is being addressed by some in the faith community. On Sept. 7, there will be full-day seminar at Team Church in Matthews, titled “Abuse Only Survives in the Dark; Shine a Light!” Speakers will include the Rev. Robert S. Owens, pastor emeritus of First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, now a resident of Charlotte, and his daughter, Julie Owens. Julie, 58, founder/director of HOPE Violence & Trauma Consultants, and Robert, 83, have been through a painful and difficult journey together. In 1988, Julie’s estranged husband planned and carried out a vicious knife attack that left father and daughter wounded. Julie’s husband became abusive after they married, first emotionally and mentally, eventually culminating in physical violence. She has a long history of helping and advocating for domestic abuse victims, a commitment she’s maintained for more than 20 years. She’s worked within the state government to oversee numerous domestic violence programs. She’s fought to change legislation on behalf of the rights of victims of domestic violence. And she has spoken out about her own experience, bringing hope and inspiration to others. “Victims must be believed, supported and referred to local agencies that assist every family member. Abusers must be held accountable. The work of the church has never been easy, and this is no exception,” said Julie Owens. Her father is also outspoken in his support for domestic violence victims, a stance others in the clergy have been reluctant to take. “For far too long the church has turned a deaf ear to the cries of those who are victims of abuse, including many in our communities of faith. It is sad but true that perpetrators are often supported more than victims in the faith community,” said Owens. Other speakers will include Catherine DeLoach Lewis, owner of Christian Therapy Services in Charlotte, and Amy Rasmussen Buckley, board member of Life Together International. The organizer of the seminar is Jessica Moser, 31, Team Church member and survivor of an abusive marriage. She recognized a need for greater understanding and support from the church in regard to domestic violence, which led her to plan the seminar. “I believe that we, collectively as the church, need to come to a point where we’re aware of the dynamics of (domestic violence), how extensively this issue is affecting the families that sit next to us each Sunday, to know what the church’s role is in supporting victims by offering them a safe place to come, and to be able to partner with the secular DV organizations to provide safety for victims not only spiritually, but physically and emotionally as well,” said Moser. The target audience for the seminar is church leadership, community leaders, counselors and social workers, along with anyone with an interest in learning more about domestic violence.
Friday, Aug. 09, 2013
Charlotte church leaders launch domestic violence seminar
Want to go? “Abuse Only Survives In The Dark, Shine A Light!” costs $15, which includes lunch. Seating is limited; register as soon as possible, online at http://teamchurch.com/2013/05/21/domestic-violence-seminar/. For information, contact Jessica Moser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-575-8281.
Allison Futterman is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Allison? Email her at email@example.com.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less