Today was such an emotionally filled day. It has been a day of unpacking and deep reflection.
In 2012 there were over 7,000 reported instances of domestic violence in Fairfax County. That is over 20 calls a day that they receive. These are staggering numbers of situations where there can be serious violence and hatred occurring. Fairfax County has the highest number of reported instances within the entire state of Virginia. We are currently staying in the Mount Vernon precinct of Fairfax County. Within the precinct they have the most reported cases in the the county. This makes Mount Vernon one of the highest precincts in the states with these reported instances. Domestic violence is a very serious issue as those of us on this immersion found out today. This is nothing we ever want to gloss over and it is something that should be ever present on our minds.
These numbers seem absolutely outrageous with what is occurring. We ask ourselves why this happen or what drives this to happen. While the answer to this is unknown it still makes us need to keep in mind what is actually happening.
We began our session with the Police Detective by listening to a real 911 call that was made by a 16 year old about a father abusing her mother while her two younger siblings watched. This is just way to real of a way for this kind of discussion to be opened, but it is what needed to happen for us to begin to understand the traumatization that comes with these types of experiences. It feels unfair that a 16 yr old had to be the one to make this call. All the things that these people have to go through I feel that this is something that people would have to go through. I truly was set in the mindset after that recording and it brought me into a place where I wanted to help these people.
We kept going in talking about what domestic violence is and how we as pastors can be responsible for those in our church with these problems.
After this informational period we heard a real story from a person who had experienced domestic assault and violence. This absolutely a breaking down kind of moment. This is when it really became real for me because here was an actual face of someone who had been hurt by violence. This all just became to true and real to me.
These experiences just hit me deep down and made me think of what the church is doing to help these people. We need to strive to be Christians. As James 1 says:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
All of God’s Children in the world are special and we need to treat all of them with respect. We never know who these victims are. They could be sitting right in our congregations. This is why we need to always make sure we are connecting with everyone in our churches. This experience taught me what it means to be the church. We must reach out to all and it makes me think when we reach to people there could be more willingness to be open with their experiences. I also think the church needs better training in handling domestic violence incidences.The detective told us that they would love to do more training with churches to work with this situation.
Overall this is a very terrible problem all across the country, and this is a very hidden culture. However, there is help for us to be able to understand what is actually happening.
Please if you want to know more comment and we can start a conversation. This is a very basic unraveling of my thoughts and there is a lot more. I am still working on unpacking all that happened and will keep working, but I encourage you to talk to me and talk to your pastor and police department about it. Please share this post to help make this problem more prevalent to those who may not be aware of the problems.