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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
November 6, 1992     The Message
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November 6, 1992
 

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, The Message Monthly -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana November 6;'1€! • !i  , aesDlte all Qlslractlons It was early one weekday morning. My son, Ben was in his bedroom, I was in the bathroom. He was getting ready for school. I was getting ready for work. The early morning quiet had disappeared. My bedroom radio was tuned to the local public sta- tion, his tape player was louder. The bath water was running. It was, in short, a normal beginning of a nor- mal day. I couldn't hear the morning news from the nearby bedroom, but I could hear the music from Ben's room. The sound of running water covered just about everything else  which I ap- preciated since I didn't care for the music he was playing/ Another series of sounds broke through the bathroom barrier as I gradually realized what was happening. Despite the distance, despite the noise, Ben was talking to someone  and that We compromised• I don't remember what we talked about, but WASHINGTON (CNS)  A statement issued jointly by two U.S. bishops' committees declares that violence against women, in the home or out- side the home, can never be justified. "Violence in any form physical, sexual, psychologi- cal or verbal -- is sinful; man times it is a crime as the joint atate ment. The statement, which offers practical advice to battered women and those who batter them, says abuse against women exists everywhere, in- cluding within parishes and dioceses. Women may need the church's help to break out of domestic violence, it says. The 16-page statement, ti- tled "When I Call For Help: A Pastoral Response to Domes- tic Violence Against Women," was written by the U.S. bishops' Committee on Women in Society and in the Church and the bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life. Approved for publication by the bishops' Administra- tive Committee in September, the statement was made pub- lic in October. Copies have been sent to all U.S. bishops, who have been someone was me. Above the sound of swirling, splashing water, through the steady pounding of the music tape, I could hear Ben talking. He wanted an an- swer. I waspleased. It is important to me that my teenaged son wants to talk to his old father. And wants to hear what I think. I was happy. I was glad. Actually I was frustrated: I couldn't under- stand a word he said. One or both of us would have to give in, if this conversation were to work. Something had to be done: he could turn his tape player down or off. I could turn off the bah water. He could come to the bathroom. I could go to his bedroom. I could shut off my radio. I could go to the basement and pull the circuit breakers and shut everything off at the same time; it would be very quiet then, at least for a few seconds. somehow, enough of the conditions were met,  and we were able to have a conversation, even '. without cutting off all electric power. : r At least the phone wasn't ringing• .... 66 9 '9 " d Synod 93 Is here. We are already up an [ [ • t  awake preparing for the new day. There are a 10 : l] of distractions, as each of us tries to listen to th01i [| sounds of his or her own choosing• " The challenge for now is to cut away from q:! the separate sources  as good as they may be. i There's no need to judge the value or worth of i what each of us has been listening to. : There is no need to shut everything off, to :: E pull the plug, turn off the power. We can make it t work. : What we need to do is pause for a moment -" and listen to each other. Er,red a= Lnd ctass matter at the post office in Evartwi, IN 47701. Pub- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Offce of Put.ation Cq 19 Cath0 Press el Evmsve asked to distribute the docu- ment widely, according to a spokeswoman for the bish- ops' Office for Laity, Women, Family and Youth. The statement, which the bishops say they hope will be an initial step in a continuing effort by the church to com- bat domestic violence against women, opens with two dra- matic scenarios: "She ttildthe psy- chotherapist that she was liv- ing in the dog house because her husband locked her out when he was in a rage. "He told the abuse coun- selor in group therapy that after the first couple of beat- ings, he didn't have to beat her up again. All he had to do was raise his fist." The statement, citing statis- tics from the Journal of the American Medical Associa- tion, says: An estimated 3 million to 4 million women in the United States are battered each year by their husbands or partners. Approximately 37 per- cent of obstetric patients of every race, class and educa- tional background report being physically abused while pregnant. More than 50 percent of women murdered in the United States are killed by their partner or ex-partner. Both battered women and male abusers "need Jesus' strength and healing," the statement says. It says part of the reason for writing the document was an "awareness that times of eco- nomic distress, such as the present, when wage earners lose their jobs or are threat- ened with their loss, often are marked by an increase in do- mestic violence." Violence against women in the home has a cyclical effect, the statement says. "When the woman is a mother and the violence takes place in front of her children, the stage is set for a cycle of violence that may be contin- ued from generation to gener- Hurricane relief efforts To the editor, days, but the electric won't be Just a note of thanks for your concern and help with the people on Harbor Island, Bahamas. To date, we have collected $12,642 in relief funds, a million dollars worth of prayers, and lots of hope and encouragement. No one died on the island, but there was a lot of roof and window damage. The money is going to help all those who have no insurance. There is no Red Cross or other aid, so you can imagine how much your gift is appreciated. I've already sent the money, and the fellows from the half- way house (formerly the con- vent} are doing the work with some of the parishioners overseeing them. The water has been turned on after 10 back for a while. Telephones maybe next month. The out- pouring of charity is so great, the people will be forever grateful. I'll be returning to the is- land at the end of this month. Please continue with your prayers, especially that the trauma of the storm will sub- side. They had no shelters so they all sat it out for two hours not knowing if they would live or die. Please pray for us. Thanks again. Father James Lex St. Anthony Center Evansville P.S.: If you or your parish would like to help, please send prayers, offerings, etc., to Hurricane Relief, St. An- thony Church. ation," it says. It says a child raised in a home with physical abuse is "a thousand times more likely to use violence in his own family." At the same time, it says, 25 percent of men who grow up in an abusive home choose not to use violence. The statement defines abuse as "any kind of behav- ior that one person uses to control another through fear and intimidation," including emotional and psychological abuse, battering and sexual assault. Abuse, it says, cuts across racial and economic back- grounds and occurs in fami- lies from every ethnic, eco- nomic, religious and educational background. Because violence usually takes place in the privacy of people's homes, it is often "shrouded in silence," says the statement. Traditionally the abuse of a wife by her husband has been considered "not only a family matter but virtually a hus- band's prerogative," it says. Even today some people Bishop's See VIOLENCE pag 0 "mistakenly argue vention by outside endangers the concept sanctity of the home," tinues. who abuse Men them woffJ° convince !!!!1 they have says the sta "They may believe th atvi'i[ dissiati Ip lence is a way to rob[0 tension and to solve ,! -- a view that society ol | " supports." " [ I Abusive men, the says, tend to be jealous, possessive and angered. They often IJ women are inferior to I says. Alcohol is often tied to: mestic violence, the st ment says. It lessens inh: tions and can heighten atal impair judgment and it. cr the amount of force useO ilil The statement acknOW: edges that it is difficult to a SP2 ' %t hh Yt °m n sssm, et'l! ;Yychiatrists report ' abusive relationships start out "loving and The MESS AGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville. IN 47720-0169 w newspaper of t Diocese of Evansville P weeldy excep/a week in December by me CaUo pre o/ toP,O, 4189, Evansvi, IN 47724-01 Subscripon rate: $12.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 i i Violence against women can't be justified that intei[ of it c[