Healing the Cycle of Domestic Violence
“For the first 25 years of my priesthood I didn’t say much about domestic violence from the pulpit,” Dominican Father Chuck Dahm said. “I didn’t see it. It was a pastoral counselor I work with who opened my eyes.”
From that moment of insight has grown the commitment of St. Pius V Parish to heal the cycle of domestic violence through counseling programs that offer hope and a new future to both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
Last week the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) awarded St. Pius V Parish a $15,000 grant to increase its capacity for outreach, and for the establishment of parish-based volunteer training programs that have already been established in 15 parishes in the archdiocese since 2007 through the efforts of Father Chuck and the St. Pius V counseling team.
The recipe for success begins when a pastor invites Father Chuck to preach about domestic violence in a parish on a given weekend. When there is a positive response to his message, Father Chuck trains the parish volunteers to create a welcoming, healing ministry for those in need.
Statistically, one in four women in the U.S. is a victim of domestic violence. Men also can be domestic violence victims. In fact, about 8% of victims are men, Father Chuck says.
“The CCHD grant will go a long way toward helping us put into action the intent of the bishops’ pastoral letter about domestic violence,” he said. He continued, quoting directly from the 2002 document, “’Violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified…. No person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage.’”