Every year, one in four women is physically abused or sexually assaulted by someone they know.
Most of these women have at least one child and remain in abusive situations because they fear the consequences from the abuser, or because they don't have anywhere to go.
The Rock has stepped up to DO Something about it.
Launched in June 2008, the Domestic Violence (DV) ministry at the Rock is officially named H.E.A.L.I.N.G. Honoring, Empowering And Loving Individuals Needing Guidance. Meetings are held Monday nights at the Rock, from 7:00-8:30 p.m., and childcare is provided.
The ministry is rapidly growing. As many as 60 women suffering the whole gamut of abuse get together each week to talk, learn and heal. Some have been raped; some are currently in abusive relationships; some have recently left or on the verge of leaving.
Their experiences and circumstances range, but their basic needs are similar. They need acceptance, guidance, and love. That's what H.E.A.L.I.N.G. provides them.
"We talk about hope, we talk about healing, we talk about affirmation," says Jessica, the ministry founder and domestic abuse survivor.
Feelings of loneliness and isolation (reasons many women don't seek help) are quickly diminished when they come. "I've never been in a place where I don't feel judged. The shame is taken away," says one attendee. Here, they find togetherness and restoration.
For many, escaping the chains of domestic violence means facing physical and logistical needs even greater than emotional ones a feat that can seem insurmountable. Many will leave with only the clothes on their backs. Some will end up in shelters, others in motels. They'll be starting over from the ground up. H.E.A.L.I.N.G. exists to come along side these women and help them pick up pieces.
"We talk about hope, we talk about healing, we talk about affirmation."
And, getting out, as daunting as it is, is definitely worth it. "I've gained strength, power, and the love of God. This ministry has brought a new awareness of myself and has brought me the idea of a bright new future," says one survivor.
Volunteers also provide craft therapy to children living in shelters and encourage moms to stay strong. H.E.A.L.I.N.G.'s reputation is becoming known in the community. One San Diego woman felt called by God to donate new clothes to abused women and their children. She left messages at area shelters, but no one responded. Then, a friend told her about the DV ministry at the Rock. She immediately took three bags of new clothes to the Rock offices, where they were given to pleasantly surprised and grateful women and their families.
The ministry opened a session in December 2008 for men struggling with anger issues and abusive tendencies. Meetings are held Monday nights at the Rock, from 7:00-8:30 p.m.
H.E.A.L.I.N.G. Services Offered:
Thanks to the many people who have volunteered time and professional services, the H.E.A.L.I.N.G. ministry offers:
- Child therapy from therapists who specialize in trauma
- Adult trauma therapy
- Shelter placement
- Sign-off for court-mandated domestic abuses classes. (H.E.A.L.I.N.G. is a Child Protective Services (CPS) approved support group.)
- Family Justice Center services
- Legal aid, including help filing restraining orders and divorce paperwork
- Support services to men as well as women
H.E.A.L.I.N.G. Ministry Needs:
Part of the H.E.A.L.I.N.G. ministry's goal is to meet women's needs for food, shelter, money, and clothing. To meet these needs, cash donations for rent deposits, interview outfits, crafting supplies and other expenses, clothing and volunteers for outreach to shelters are always appreciated.
Jessica's vision for H.E.A.L.I.N.G is to one day open a faith-based shelter on the Rock campus where women can live and heal under the loving guidance of a church family.
For more information about the Domestic Violence Ministry, click here »