Frequent Asked Questions
Are you affected by the topic of sexual violence - as a victim, a survivor, an abuser, a relative, or a helper? We are afflicted that you have suffered and are still suffering from experiences that are intolerable and incomprehensible. No one deserves this kind of pain. The emotional and psychological consequences of sexual abuse and violence are severe, and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge this reality, then you can get the help you need. We do not pretend to have all answers. But we want to search together for solutions to bring you help and support.
If you do not find the answers to your questions on this website, please send an email with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or go to Contact, and Write us. We assure confidentiality.
Follow the link to understand the cycle of violence:
Who is the abuser?
“The abuser must look like a monster!” It would be easier if we could recognize the abuser like a monster: dirty clothes, unshaven, messy hair, mean looking, nasty… but this is all a myth. The abuser looks like a normal person, may be a charming or a very kind person, may be a worker in a factory, a teacher, or a religious leader, or someone with high position in society…. Abuse is a crime.
There are some behaviours or traits that may make someone susceptible to being or becoming a violent and/or abusing person. See also question How do we prevent this?
Who is vulnerable?
Children who witness violence learn to deal with conflicts violently as the normal way to live. Generally, these children eventually become either a victim or an abuser, and the cycle of abuse is carried on to the next generation. Studies in the United States show that children who grow up in abusive homes are 74% more likely to assault someone themselves (Massachusetts Department of Youth Services). Eighty-one percent of male abusers had fathers who abused their mothers (New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division on Women).
Anyone can become a victim of violence and abuse. Nevertheless, some other groups of people besides children are vulnerable: factors as ethnicity, social class, age (elderly persons), sexual orientation, inability (handicapped persons), nationality and religion may influence violence experiences.
You are experiencing abuse or violence:
- Go to Contact and click on your country, follow the link.
- You also may write us and we will help you.
- Call the Women’s Ministry leader or your pastor for help.
When there is immediate danger for your life,
- Go to Contact and click on your country, follow the link. Call the hotline, or, call or write us.
- Locate the nearest house or shelter to where you live. Talk about your problem. You will find practical information there for your safety and the safety of your children: you may also need police protection, counsel from a lawyer, support from a therapist.
- You may experience also spiritual needs and may want to contact the pastor for assistance.
You are affected as abuser:
- Seek out programs that might help address issues contributing to your violent behaviour. You may find helpful information in following the link: www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/Abuser/abusive_help.htm
- Call a help line. Two help lines on this website: www.respect.uk.net/
- You may contact the pastor who will direct you.
European number: 112
Where is God?
God is close and always on the side of the weak. He is the One who will always listen to the suffering one. You may doubt that if you have been abused, but you will discover that God is the One who will rebuild you and restore your life. The arm of God will sustain you, and you will not to have to fear anymore because His arm will make you strong. Ps 89.22
Abuse and domestic violence is God’s Top Priority. God says His soul hates the one who loves violence (Ps 11:5). He condemns violence and abuse as sin and wickedness. There are many examples in the Bible of situations of violence, sexual violence, brutal slavery, rape, abuse and oppression; but God has acted so there is no mistake about what He thinks: God cares about the abused, raped, suffering person. His will is for us to love each other, not to hurt each other.
Warning Signs of an Abusive Personality:
Blame-shifting for problems
Cruelty to Animals
Cruelty to Children
Playful use of Force in Sex
Rigid Gender Roles
Drink or Substance Abuse
History of Battering or Sexual Violence
Negative Attitude toward Women
Breaking or Striking Objects
Any Force during an Argument
To have more information on the above list, visit the website: www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/Abuser/signs.htm
The cycle of violence can be broken when parents and families are willing to change and learn new ways of dealing with conflict
What is done in the Church for Abuse Prevention:
- The fourth Sabbath of every August is dedicated toward preventing abuse. You may find information and material for this special day in following this link: http://adventistwomensministries.org/index.php?id=125
- Address issues of abuse from the pulpit on Sabbath morning
- Pastors : in addition to above, encourage prevention by all means
- Presentation of seminars
- Organisation of forum with therapists, jurists, professionals for the all church
- Print and distribute booklet on prevention.
- Print small cards with Hotline, or ITFACES.IT information
- Prevention through Medias, TV, magazines, writers….
How to start over?
The abused person must first recognize the situation. If not, she thinks that her experience is normal, correct, she deserves it and is ashamed. The abuse person must not be ashamed. She is not alone. To talk about hurt may help to overcome. To share confidence with a friend is not enough. The confidante may encourage her to talk either to the pastor or the Women’s ministries leader of her church in order to be helped with kindness and without judgement, or she may go by herself to an association, which is an exception.
Both ways is to benefit help for a therapist, for shelter, or for administrative (police). If she has physical injuries, she needs to go to a medical doctor, for exams and medical certificates and to go to the police to complain.
How should the local church respond?
A survey in European countries indicated that an average of 10 % of Adventist women and 3 % of Adventist men have experienced sexual abuse. In most cases, the abuser and victim are members of the Church.
For too long the topics of violence and abuse have been taboo subjects in the church. This attitude of denial has resulted in denying the facts. The Adventist church wants to change this!
Our Church members need to develop a culture of kindness and compassion and demonstrate love and care to each others. It needs to be prepared to take care of vulnerable members. In order to respond to the needs of the abused/abusers through the ITFACES.ME website, it is a prerequisite of each church to prepare and train the church members how to behave.
Pastors and Women’s Ministries leaders have responsibilities in doing all to ensure that their church is a safe place for all. They must create a place to talk about issues relating to abuse, encourage members to talk about it, assist/arrange for the safety and support of victims, and respect confidentiality.
Pastors and Women’s Ministries leaders must know what community support is available in order to refer people as appropriate and hold perpetrators accountable for their acts.
Also it is important for abuse survivors to hear messages from the pulpit that condemn violence of any kind, because this helps build confidence in the pastor.
Adventists Say NO to Violence Against Women
"The EndItNow campaign, in partnership between ADRA and Women's Ministries, calls Adventists around the world to work in their communities to stop violence against women and girls. read more...