Domestic abuse and the Catholic community: How can we respond?

Domestic abuse and violence cause hidden suffering and sometimes death. Celia Capstick, a member of the Bishops’ Conference Domestic Abuse Working Group and co-coordinator of the Social Responsibility Committee of the National Board of Catholic Women, aims to raise awareness of the issue in the Catholic community and provide suggestions for action by all Church leaders and anyone, lay or religious, involved in pastoral ministry in the parish or diocese.

‘Don’t beat your wife!’ These words were sung at our wedding at a Catholic orphanage outside Lusaka, Zambia. They have resonated with me ever since! In parts of Africa it was said that when a husband beat his wife, the women in the village would demonstrate in solidarity with the victim by banging metal objects, creating such a noise that the perpetrator would be shamed into desisting.

Raising awareness

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