MCC helps Brazil churches address domestic abuse

Liliana Álvarez Woo/MCC

Ana Lúcia’s husband frequently beats her. When he threatened to kill her, the 30-year-old woman, member of an evangelical church in Brazil’s northeast state of Pernambuco, shared her situation with church sisters.

Based on experiences such as Ana Lúcia’s, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Brazil has boosted its efforts within evangelical churches to combat violence against women by their partners. It has become a significant focus of MCC Brazil’s peace program.

As a first step to address this problem, MCC Brazil and partner agency Diaconia, a Christian organization that promotes human rights and justice, produced a book to guide pastors and church leaders in their interactions with abused women and abusive men.

Até Quando? (When Will It End?), released in March 2010, counters attitudes in Chris-tian churches that violence against women is a private, family affair, asserting it as a societal issue that congregations, as part of communities, must confront.

“The book’s principal purpose is to sensitize church members to the importance of looking at the problem from a Christian perspective and to create spaces and tools to protect victims,” said Oscar Benavides, coordinator of MCC Brazil’s peace program until March 2011.

Emily Will is a freelance writer from Frederick, Maryland. This excerpt is taken from an MCC news release.

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