'Abuse isn't love!'

Pastor advises battered women to leave before it's too late

BY RENAE DIXON
Observer staff reporter
dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, October 22, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!


In what he himself described as an unconventional sermon, overseer for the Glasgow New Testament Church of God district of churches in St Ann, Rev Dr Stenneth Davis used Saturday's funeral service for 34-year-old Allisha Francis and her son, 10-year-old son Jahmoni Jackson, as an opportunity to sound the alarm against domestic abuse and accused the Church of being complicit in the suffering of women.

Francis and her son were killed by an angry ex-lover, Orville Scarlett, just as she returned home with her three children on Tuesday, August 28. They were chopped to death while Francis' elder son, 11 years old, was seriously injured and hospitalised. Her young daughter escaped physical harm.

At the funeral service, held at Linton Park New Testament Church of God, Rev Dr Davis said he has become concerned with what has been happening to women over the last few years in Jamaica and was motivated to give a sermon in life lessons.

“We still live in a society which condones abuse as love,” Dr Davis started out, adding that he believed that some of the very women in the large congregation have themselves been or still are victims of domestic violence.

He pointed out that domestic violence is destroying families and that many women do not know they are victims because of their definition of abuse.

“They may think their husband just got angry or is strong-willed. They may excuse a violent outburst because their husband or spouse later apologised or asked for forgiveness,” Dr Davis said.

He explained that of the different types of abuse — physical, emotional, economical and sexual — perhaps the most common one women experienced is emotional.

“Jealousy is emotional abuse... Jealousy in the spark of a moment can convert love into hatred,” Dr Davis said.

“If you are living with a spouse who calls you all kinds of names, you are the victim of emotional domestic abuse,” he added.

Rev Davis also explained that when men use money to control women, it is a form of abuse, and he urged women to not be dependent on men, lest they become statistics.

“You will sit down at home and become the victim of domestic violence,” he warned.

He also warned that sexual domestic abuse is also common.

“Sexual abuse is even more common now with easier access to pornography on the Internet,” he said.

Rev Davis said “domestic abuse is a learnt behaviour that is deeply planted by demons and demonology” and stated that if the behaviour is learned then it can be corrected; however, he warned that some abusers will not easily change so they need to be held accountable.

He pointed out that some abusers blame their behaviour on other factors and may even blame their victims. Others, he said, are generally remorseful, but often go back to abusing the woman.

“You better start smelling the rat before you find it,” the pastor warned.

While Rev Davis advocates for women leaving abusive relationships, he concedes that it is not an easy decision, especially when there is economic dependence.

“Many women victims do not believe they can earn enough to take care of themselves and their children,” he said.

But there are several other reasons battered women stay in abusive relationships. Some of them to which he pointed were fear of embarrassment, fear of separating children from their fathers, and fear for their lives and those of their children,

“Sometimes because of the embarrassment you sit down in the abuse...They don't want to embarrass their church, they don't want to embarrass their pastor, they don't want to embarrass their family, so they sit down in the abuse in order to avoid embarrassment,” Rev Davis said.

“Some women stay because they were married in the church, because they sing on the choir, because I preach the gospel, because the community is looking up to me, I rather stay in the same house with the man but divorced” the Rev said.

He warned that it was time for women to get rid of fear and seek the help needed.

“Would God want you to sit down as a believer in a violent relationship?” he asked. “Would God really want you to sit down in an abusive relationship; in an abusive marriage? The God that you serve?”

“Even though you go to church, it's time to wise up! God calls fools, but him nuh keep dem,” the pastor said Saturday.

Davis, who said further that some abusive men have used the church as a cover, used the opportunity to call on the institution to do more to help those who are abused by implementing psycho-social programmes. The church's role, he argued, is more than fasting and praying and broader than “to gather and collect”.

“Our church in some ways has become complicit in this epedemic of domestic abuse. The church has become a little too relaxed, especially some of us pastors,” Rev Davis said.

“If your life becomes a threat, as a counsellor and as a pastor, I will have to report it...As a church we have preached plenty about the permanence of marriage, and the sanctity of marriage, but we need to look at the reality of what is happening in life. If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be,” he continued.

“After you have exhausted every possible means of help, I am suggesting that no person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage or relationship. That could not be the will of God. If your life is at stake that could not be the will of God,” he stated.

Davis added, “I am not going to encourage any relationship that is violent; you have to make a decision.”

Rev Davis called on men to give women a chance to make lifetime decisions and to not hurt them.

“The church rejects all forms of domestic violence, and the church urges women to protect themselves and their children...even if that means a separation from the abuser, we are recommending it,” Davis said.

In the meantime, Rev Davis said the offering collected at the service will be donated to the person who will be caring for Francis' two other children.

Francis and Jackson were laid to rest in a family plot in Linton Park.

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT