Adventist Church in Australia holds summit about porn and domestic violence

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The Women’s Ministries team around Australia held their first EndItNow summit online on August 27 to further explore themes of pornography and youth violence as part of this year’s global EndItNow campaign run by the General Conference.

Viewers logged in from all around Australia to listen to guest speaker, author and coach Sarah McDugal talk about sobering statistics and figures on domestic violence and how the Church can help support those in need.

More than 400 comments were written during the program with viewers asking a panel of Christian experts for advice, sharing their own stories and asking for prayer.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2020, property crime decreased while there was a rise in domestic violence, with an increase in police recorded domestic violence and related sexual assaults by 13 per cent.

One woman is murdered each week by a current or former partner, while one in three, over the age of 15, have experience physical violence and one in five, over the age of 15, have experienced sexual violence.

Sadly, studies have shown that these figures are the same in the Seventh-day Adventist Church as they are outside of the Church.

“The summit was awesome and provided the opportunity to start having a conversation that the Church needs to focus more on,” Pastor Sylvia Mendez, Women and Family Ministries director at the Australian Union Conference stated.

The Record team held a special interview with keynote presenter Sarah McDugal in the week before EndItNow Sabbath.

“There was genuine engagement and people were grateful for the opportunity to be able to talk about their real stories, real questions and real challenges.”

The program also touched on how violence is connected with pornography and what churches, schools and parents could be doing to have honest conversations with young people about what real relationships should look like.

The summit provided viewers with great information on where to find help and steps they could take to approach the issues with young people, however, it was acknowledged that the Seventh-day Adventist Church needs to do more in this sphere, to protect our children and the vulnerable in our community.

“We need to create a platform where people can ask hard questions,” Pastor Mendez explained. “We may not have all the answers but by creating a safe space, it means a discussion can be had.

“After the summit we have realised that there is a void in this area, and we are dedicated to working with other departments to develop resources and provide training to give churches the tools to help those in need.”

The EndItNow summit is available to view on the Adventist Women’s Australia Facebook page and they have also provided a list of resources for those who need support.

*if you or anyone you know needs help, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT, LIFELINE on 131 114 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800

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