Religious Leaders Called Upon to Wage War on Domestic Violence

The call is being raised by the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council in Tallahassee. In the many discussions the group had, members realized that the people battered women often turn to first are their religious leaders.

Unfortunately, sometimes they're not getting the best possible advice. The tragedy of domestic violence was brought to life at the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Tallahassee. It's where people of all faiths congregated for this forum to find out more about fighting the terror that disrupts many families, a terror that doesn't discriminate.

Carman Roebuck, a domestic violence survivor, says, "It's happening in the communities, it's happening in the churches and people don't talk about it."

The Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, which is made up of 14 agencies, decided now was the time to talk about the violence following a tragic year in Tallahassee.

Maureen O'Neil, assistant director of the Refuge House, says, "We've had three deaths in Tallahassee as a result of domestic violence, so people are very concerned about it and part of this big turnout has to do with people responding and saying we have to do something about this problem."

Reverend J.R. Thicklin served as the forum's keynote speaker. He spoke of the urgency for the religious community to step into the front lines.

"It's crucial for the faith community to become educated and empowered about the dynamics of domestic violence and how it impacts our society."

Now empowered with the tools to fight domestic violence, these religious leaders say they hope they can provide the missing link between the violence and help.

Later in the day a panel of leaders from a variety of faiths answered questions about different situations such as how different faiths approach domestic violence and what they can do to help stop it.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can call the Domestic Violence hotline at 681-2111.