Indiana—With the goal of encouraging awareness and advocacy of victims of gender abuse, the Glendale Church hosted a two-day event on domestic violence featuring Nelson Mandela’s stepdaughter.
At the invitation of Cynthia Prime, Glendale Church member and Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach ministry leader, Mandela’s stepdaughter, Josina Machel, welcomed the opportunity to spotlight the issue of domestic abuse against women. As the victim of an abusive relationship that left her blind in one eye, Machel knows firsthand that physical abuse knows no boundaries of class, race or economic status. “Love that is violent is a lie,” she told the attentive audience.
October was National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the statistics are sobering. Glendale Church pastor Ramon Ulangca shared that between 2001 and 2012, the United States lost 6,488 soldiers during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. However, in that same period, almost twice that number, 11,766 women, were murdered in the U.S. by their male partners or ex-partners. He said: “Over the course of this weekend, we may hear many other statistics, but the reality is that they all will be inadequate because there has been a culture of silence and fear surrounding this issue of abuse that has kept countless women, and even men, from coming forward with their experiences.”
Machel was the main speaker Friday evening, and on Sabbath, she, along with Gail Masondo, author and chaplain, shed light on the sobering reality of domestic violence, as well as on the role of the faith community in influencing change and as a sanctuary for those who are hurting.
The panel discussion on Sabbath afternoon involved nine young adult participants, each giving their own perspective and experience. An EMT told of observing the physical damage done to women. A young mother experienced the horror of discovering that her 4-year-old daughter was a victim. A young man witnessed his mother beaten. A young mother who had experienced abuse asked for prayer for forgiveness for taking out her revenge on her young sons. Still others shared how they were victims themselves. Insightful discussion and requests for forgiveness resulted. Getting to the other side of abuse — the healing, was the goal.
Ulangca reminded the audience that despite sinful pasts there was reason for hope. “Hope is found in the God who created us and redeemed us from our sins through His Son, Jesus Christ . . . And so, regardless of our faith traditions, we have gathered here as a community to encourage one another and reaffirm what the Word of God says, that when all is said and done, only three things remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”
Both the local ABC affiliate, RTV6, and the local PBS station, WFYI, conducted interviews with Machel. Those stories can be viewed here.
Photo caption: left to right: Josina Machel; Ramon Ulangca, Glendale Church pastor, Gail Masondo, artist manager and counselor; Cynthia Prime, CEO of Saving Orphans Through Healtcare and Outreach; and John Melefe, CEO of the Kuhluka Movement.