The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that about 1.5 million women in the United States are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year. Nearly one-third of American women report having experienced physical or sexual abuse by a husband or boyfriend at some point during their lives, according to the Commonwealth Fund’s 1998 Survey of Women’s Health.
Christians are no exception to these alarming statistics.
“The rate of abuse in Christian homes is exactly the same as in the general population,” says Catherine Clark Kroeger, co-founder of Peace and Safety in the Christian Home (PASCH). “If we could tear off the secrecy and then allow God’s grace to work, that would be the greatest gift.” Kroeger, an adjunct associate professor of classical and ministry studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, has written, co-written, or contributed to eight books about women and domestic violence from a Christian perspective.
She became aware of the need for a response to domestic violence that the evangelical community would hear and respect after she founded Christians for Biblical Equality, an organization rooted in evangelical circles that promotes an interpretation of the Bible supporting the fundamental equality of men and women of all ethnicities and all economic classes. She noticed that many women appeared more interested in the biblical roots of equality for the home than within church roles. In 1992, Kroeger and Denver Seminary professor of counseling James R. Beck held a symposium that led to their publication of Women, Abuse, and the Bible: How Scripture Can Be Used to Hurt or Heal.