3.3 Million: Estimated number of children in the U.S. each year that witness violence against their mother or female caretaker by a family member.
40-60: Percentage of men who abuse women who also abuse children.
1 in 5: Number of teenage girls who said they have been in a relationship where the boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if a breakup was to occur.
90-95: Percentage of domestic violence victims who are women.
175,000: Number of workdays American employees miss each year on account of domestic violence.
40-70: Percentage of female murder victims in the U.S. who were killed by their husbands or boyfriends, often within an ongoing abusive relationship.
You may have even heard stories.
In 2011, a Grand Rapids man went on a shooting spree, killing two of his former girlfriends, their family members, and his own daughter.
A Paralympic athlete from South Africa kills his girlfriend and serves a year of jail time.
A Grosse Pointe woman is killed and dismembered by her husband, who plays the mourning widower to the media until he is linked to the murder.
A mother of two young children in the Upper Peninsula is murdered by an ex-boyfriend and left in the trunk of her car.
As human beings, we can’t help but be grieved, outraged, and overwhelmed by the tragedy and injustice that is domestic violence. But because of the intimacy of this form of violence, it often seems there is not much we can do. These are crimes that typically occur behind closed doors, over time, in secret. The psychological interplay of victim and abuser is such that the woman will oftentimes protect her abuser and keep the violence a secret, sometimes for years.
So what is our role as people of faith in the complicated web of domestic violence? What does any of this have to do with religion or the church?
First of all, it’s important for us as Christians to recognize that the faith we claim has some interpretations that are particularly problematic when it comes to the issue of domestic abuse. In 2009, Saddleback Church, one of the nation’s largest and most influential evangelical megachurches, posted on its website an assertion that the ONLY biblically acceptable grounds for divorce are adultery or abandonment. And they were quite clear that in cases of domestic abuse the expectation was reconciliation, not divorce. 
Kathryn Joyce wrote a nice piece that goes into further detail about Christian literalist views on domestic abuse and how some women within those churches are attempting provide a new theological framework for some of the traditional interpretations of the bible. You can find the blog here: http://religiondispatches.org/biblical-battered-wife-syndrome-christian-women-and-domestic-violence/
While more liberal-minded Christians may not interpret the scriptures so literally, if anyone where to approach the Christian scriptures looking for evidence to support the point of view that women should be submissive to men, to the point of enduring abuse and even death, they could find what they are looking for.
In the book of Genesis, girl is raped into marriage. Her brother “avenge” this wrong by killing every male in the city and taking their wives and children as “prey.” http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=312443401
In the book of Judges, a daughter submits to being killed by her father because he made a hasty vow to God http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=312443178
Later in Judges, a man’s concubine is thrown out to a gang of rapists to protect the man she is with. She is raped almost to death, then cut up into pieces by the man to incite a war. http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=312443473
Moving on to the New Testament, Jesus teaches that divorce is only allowable in cases of unfaithfulness. And really, then only the man is able to divorce the wife, not the other way around. http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=312525855
And in Ephesians, Paul commands women to be submissive to their husbands. http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=312526023
Interpretations of these passages and others have for too long perpetuated the continuation of domestic violence in Christian homes.
So we, as Christians, need to send a different message.
We need to be sharing the message of God’s constant concern for the most vulnerable members of any society – the widow, the orphan, and the stranger – and translate that this also includes women who are abused by a domestic partner.
We need to be sharing the message of God’s righteous demand for justice, drawing upon the Exodus narrative to develop an image of our God who rescues those in slavery and abusive situations.
We need to be sharing the message of a Christ who came that all might have “abundant life.”
We need to be sharing the message God’s response to persistent petition for help.
And we need to be sharing ways to help victims. Some churches post helplines and other resources in bathrooms. Some have pamphlets of information on how to recognize or escape from domestic violence. Others participate in vigils, advocacy, or other public events to share their Christian belief that God does not want anyone to suffer this kind of abuse.
What are we doing? What are you doing? What can we do together?