Each year October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
- On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. (Source for statistics)
The following is a prayer I prepared for our local DVAM gathering:
O Lord, hear the prayer of your people and let our cries come to you.
We cry to you for all victims of domestic violence.
We cry to you for all who suffer physical, sexual, emotional, or economic violence.
We cry to you for all who have lost lives, health, dignity, safety, hope, innocence, or well-being to violent hands.
We remember and hold before you today all who have died as a result of domestic violence. Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord; let light perpetual shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the departed, through your mercy, rest in peace.
We remember and hold before you today all who grieve the death of family, friends, and loved ones. Remember them in your mercy, nourish them with patience, comfort them with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon them, and give them peace.
We remember and hold before you today all who have been injured in body, mind, or soul by domestic violence or by having witnessed such violence. Let your healing presence be upon them and restore them to the fullness of life.
Sustain and strength all victims of domestic violence with fervent prayer, unwavering hope, enduring love, courageous hearts, and a persevering will. Take them to the green pastures and lead them beside still waters. Be their Good Shepherd, let them fear no evil, and comfort them with your rod and your staff. Prepare a table before them and let their cup run over. Let your goodness and mercy follow them all the days of their lives. Shine your light in their valley of darkness and let them dwell in your house forever.
Give them the sure knowledge that they are your beloved children. Relieve them of guilt or shame and lead them in the way of freedom. Send your holy angels to stand watch over them, to guard and keep them. Let their names be on the lips of your saints in prayer. Send them compassionate and courageous companions that they may never stand alone.
Soften and turn the hearts of all perpetrators and abusers. Open their eyes to see that all life is sacred and all people have been created in your image and likeness. Hasten the coming of that day when purple flags and ribbons are no longer necessary. Teach and inspire us to love one another as you love us.
Give wise minds, gentle hands, and warm hearts to judges, law enforcement officers, medical providers, case workers, clergy, and all who work with and care for the survivors of domestic violence. Open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts that we may never be deaf, blind, or indifferent to the cries of those in pain, need, or danger. Give us the grace, will, and perseverance to overcome violence and bring about the common good, dignity, peace, justice, and freedom for all people.
We thank, Lord, you for all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ.
O Lord our God, accept the fervent prayers of your people; in the multitude of your mercies, look with compassion upon us and all who turn to you for help; for you are gracious, O lover of souls, and to you we give glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.