I’m becoming more and more concerned about the levels of domestic violence that exist in the communities of which we are a part—right across the South Pacific Division. There is no place for violence of any kind, let alone violence that is perpetrated by those who are supposed to be in loving family relationships.
In a recent edition of Asian Pacific Law and Policy Journal, an article on ending domestic violence commenced with the following sentence: “Domestic violence is pervasive, widespread and a serious national issue in Pacific countries.”1 It further commented that most of the countries of which we are a part do not have strong domestic violence legislation.
. . . a confidential survey at Church-sponsored events in one of our countries revealed that 63 of the 93 women leaders attending had been seriously abused in some way.
But if we somehow feel contented believing this is something that occurs only outside the Church, I have some shocking statistics for you. Recently, a confidential survey at Church-sponsored events in one of our countries revealed that 63 of the 93 women leaders attending had been seriously abused in some way. At another event specifically for teenage girls and women, 142 of the 145 attendees reported abuse. That is correct. You did not misread.
This simply cannot continue. In the coming months and years the South Pacific Division will be working even more intentionally in co-operation with reputable, legitimate government and non-government organisations to put an end to this blight on society and our Church. May God help us.
1. Christine Forster, “Ending Domestic Violence in Pacific island Countries: The Critical Role of Law.” Asian Pacific Law and Policy Journal, 12/2, 123-45.
Dr Barry Oliver is president of the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.