A productive training in Charlotte NC
Many of you know that I was involved in a training day Domestic Abuse and the Church in Charlotte, North Carolina last Saturday. The day went well. About 60 people attended. The audience consisted of counselors and social workers, survivors of abuse, clergy, friends and family of survivors, and one woman who works in law enforcement. There were quite a few men there which I found very encouraging, having been to many domestic abuse events where the participants are almost all women. There were three people in the audience who I know from this blog ( I won’t mention their names, but if they want to identify themselves they can do so in the comments thread). One of the readers from this blog brought her father, who is an elder in a church in a town in North Carolina. It was so lovely to meet with these people who I have interacted with and got to know in cyberspace; to give them a hug and get to know them a little more. And some of these people gave me a lift to my next destination in South Carolina, where I am staying with Katy at the moment — yeah, that’s Katy who comments on this blog and we’re having a great time together 🙂
The three speakers explored different facets of the topic. Julie Owens, a survivor of a severe domestic assault (her separated husband took to her and her father – a pastor – with a knife) who has been working in Domestic Abuse education and service provision for at least two decades, spoke about worldwide domestic violence, the historical and legal context, types of abuse, the dynamics of an abusive relationship, myths and misconceptions, the profile of an abuser, why anger management doesn’t stop domestic abuse, the dangers of couple counseling, whether a batterer can change, mistakes Christians make, commonly misused scriptures, and what Christian victims need to hear.
Readers who follow this blog would have recognized many of the things that Julie said from posts on this blog, but she also covered things we have not covered, like the historical and worldwide context of domestic violence.
Sunya Folayan, an African American social worker and survivor of domestic abuse, spoke about providing support to victims in ways that respect and acknowledge their individual backgrounds and cultures: ethnic, cultural, historical, familial, linguistic, economic, etc. She asked lots of open-ended questions and I think her talk led us to be more sensitive and aware of the individual differences and complexities that victim-survivors may have.
I gave a talk about the story of The Levite’s Concubine in the last three chapters of Judges, which I see as a superlative case study in domestic abuse and how abusers enlist allies. This was the first time my teaching on The Levite’s Concubine has been presented publicly and I was happy with how it went. I read from a written script but I think I was able to make it lively and interesting with intonation and gestures.
I really want to get my Levite’s Concubine teaching out to the church at large and I think that presenting it as an audio visual is the best way, so if the video recording made last Saturday is not good enough for some reason, I will re-record it somewhere/somehow, as I am determined to provide it as a audio visual teaching. I’ve been sitting on this teaching for quite a long time, so overloaded with blogging and emailing, and yes, suffering from a combination of fear and inertia and perhaps some other emotions too, that I have allowed myself to just leave it on the back burner, where it was gnawing an uncomfortable hole in my conscience. But now, having had this opportunity to do this presentation live, I am galvanized to make it available to a much wider audience.
Chris Kelly, a professional photographer from Raleigh NC, videotaped all the presentations, giving her services as a volunteer. I also discovered that she has videoed Lundy Bancroft quite a bit: once at a PASCH conference some years ago (PASCH = Peace and Safety in the Christian Home, an organization that no longer exists), and more recently for a documentary Chris is making about domestic abuse which will feature Lundy. I asked Chris to let me know when this doco comes out, so we can tell our readers and help spread the word.
Chris will be sending me a master copy of my presentations and if the audio track is good enough I’m planning to make my Levite’s Concubine talk into a DVD. I’ll have to interleave the powerpoint slides I used into the head-shot video of me (techno challenge!). The DVD may also include the second talk I gave on Scriptural Dilemmas of Christian Victims, which summarized what I say in my book Not Under Bondage and briefly addressed the other major dilemmas faced by Christian victims: forgiveness, suffering, and submission and headship.
I’d like to thank Julie Owens especially. I only ‘met’ Julie by email in late February, and told her I was available to do a speaking engagement in Charlotte while I was there, if she wanted to organize one. She organized this training day very rapidly, taking only a month to put it all together. What a great effort!
Readers in North Carolina may be interested in this Faith-Based Domestic Abuse seminar that is being held in the town of Matthews in September: Shine A Light On DV. The lady organizing this seminar was one of the volunteers who helped last Saturday’s event run smoothly, so I’m sure the seminar in September will be well organized. 🙂