Tag Archives: Evidentiary Affidavit of Abuse

The Gospel, Church and Domestic Violence

21 Jul

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is GOOD NEWS.  What does that mean?  What is the news?  It’s the news that we have been set free.  Free from sin and death.  Free from the tyranny of self.  Free to be the people who God created us to be.  Free to serve, and free to use our power to uplift the marginalized.  Jesus didn’t come to give you everything you want…that’s a patently false gospel.  But Jesus did come to restore the image of God in you, and he came to partner with you in offering that same life-giving gift to others.

 

I’ve wondered for years how this applies to the 1 in 3 women who sit in church each Sunday and are victims of domestic violence.  How does this Gospel impact their lives?  For most it doesn’t.  Why?

 

Because church leaders have hindered their access to Jesus.

 

You might say…but when did I block someone’s way to Jesus?  I’d NEVER do such a thing.

 

But, you did just that when you told the woman who came to you with tears and trembling that her husband beat and raped her at gun-point each day for 10 years that she must have done something to cause him to have to treat her that way.

 

You did just that when the woman came to you and she said she was afraid for her life, and you said you were sorry, but the Bible made it “clear” that divorce was only possible in case of sexual infidelity.

 

And you did just that when you told the woman suffering from PTSD that she needed to embrace the “cross that she was meant to bear” and that God would reward her for it in Heaven one day.

 

The Gospel IS good news for victims of domestic violence, while very sadly, the church has not been.  We must change our response, or be held accountable to God for our careless theology and our lazy and heartless, religiously-devoid-of-goodness sort of responses to the ones that Jesus came to set free.

 

So what can we do?  Here at Naperville Christian Church, we pledge to stand with victims of domestic violence.  What that means is that we will LISTEN to victims when they come to us, and we won’t ever try to convince victims to reconcile with their abusers.  Victims aren’t the problem; abusers are.  We also work to find temporary safe places for victims to stay that are unknown to their abusers.  Shelters can’t do it all, so we’re here to help complement their good work.  Finally, we help victims get a “head-start” in the legal system, by encouraging each of them to complete the Evidentiary Affidavit of Abuse, which is a ground-breaking tool designed in response to the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

 

Even though we’re doing significant work to help victims, the resources needed are diverse, and sadly quite scattered.  I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with some great people whom are doing incredible work around our local community and around the world.  Here are some of them:

 

1.  Rise From The Ashes ~ They help women sever the legal ties that bind them to their abusers.  They also assist with the emotional trauma of DV with counseling.

2.  Restore ~ An international Christian alliance which seeks to end violence against women.

3.  SafeNight APP ~ An App that helps domestic violence and human-trafficking organizations crowd-fund hotel rooms when there’s an urgent need and no available room in DV shelters.

4.  A Cry for Justice ~ Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst.

5.  Focus Ministries ~ Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse Help for Women and Families

 

All of these organizations are good news for victims of domestic violence.  Will you and your church become that, too?  Please contact me at neil.schori@napervillechristian.org if you’d like to book me to speak at your church or to your organization, so that more will experience the GOOD of the Gospel.

 

**I added numbers 4 & 5 tonight, as I inadvertently failed to mention them and the good work they do.  Forgive my oversight.

 

Peace,

Neil Schori

 

 

How #JodiArias will make life harder for victims of #DV

1 Mar

Do you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf?  If you don’t, you surely understand the concept of it.  If you pretend like you are in need of something, but you really aren’t, eventually people won’t pay attention to you any more.

While the boy in the story ultimately harmed himself because of his falsehood, it doesn’t always work that way.  There are times when others are placed in harm’s way because of the selfishness of others.

I believe this is going to be part of the ‘fall-out’ from the Jodi Arias murder trial.  Arias is on trial for the murder of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander.  After telling all sorts of stories about what happened on the day of Travis’ death, Jodi ran out of stories that involved other people.  Her narrative then switched to herself.  She claimed that she killed Travis out of necessity because she was abused by him and she was afraid that he was going to kill her first.

The story doesn’t add up, and there is quite convincing evidence (at least to me) of Jodi committing premeditated murder.  Ultimately, I believe she will be found guilty, and will at least, spend the rest of her life behind bars.  Unfortunately however, her lies will have grave ramifications for true victims of domestic violence.

Victims of #DV are told by their abusers that they are worthless and that no one else would ever want to be with them.  They’re told that they are stupid and wrong and entirely expendable.  Unfortunately, these manipulative tactics are effective and victims believe that they don’t have stories that anyone else would believe.  I’ve spent many hours with these victims, letting them know that God loves them and that we are so grateful to get the chance to assist them on their journeys back to real life.

Because of Jodi Arias’ lies, victims are not going to feel as safe about speaking up.  Why?  Because victims will be afraid that they will be looked at with the same skepticism that Arias is receiving.  Sadly, that is a realistic fear.  When people cry wolf, victims suffer.

I want you to know something…if you are a victim and you are thinking of telling your story, please know that it is safe with me.  I will help you to the very best of my ability.  Do not allow Jodi Arias or any other liars to keep you silent.

For more information or if you are ready to get help now, please click here.

Peace,

Neil Schori

How YOU Can Become a #DV Advocate

25 Sep

So many of you have reached out to me to ask how YOU can help save lives of the many victims of domestic violence in your communities. For that, I’m truly grateful. Thank you so much!

I believe that it is time to mobilize our communities to make a real difference for women whom are suffering in silence. In order to do that, we must ACT. Because of my involvement in the Drew Peterson murder trial, I’ve received a lot of media attention, and I’m using it for good.

My desire is for every church in the country to be a safe place for abused women. In order for that to happen, we must have a plan, and pastors and parishioners must respond appropriately to the plan so that abuse victims get the real assistance they need.

The Evidentiary Affidavit of Abuse was created in response to the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. The goal was to eliminate the “hearsay” that Drew Peterson’s team claimed (unsuccessfully) was not legitimate evidence of Drew’s guilt. I’d love it if all of you would go to http://documenttheabuse.com and read about the Evidentiary Affidavit of Abuse. It will bring offenders to justice more quickly than Drew Peterson. It will also empower women and help them to get back their voices. I’ve used it repeatedly in my own church with incredible results. Not one woman has been killed since we started to use this incredible tool.

My goal is for churches and other concerned members of the community to learn to use this tool, but then to offer temporary safe families for victims of domestic violence. If just 5 families in each church in the nation would step up to this challenge, all 1.3 million victims of abuse would be safe from their attackers.

There are many domestic violence shelters out there that are doing tremendous work. But they need more people to step up and do the same kind of work that they are doing. They aren’t funded well enough to do it all, and they need our help.

Here’s where all of you come in: you are all influencers in your respective communities. I need you to share this plan with people that you see each day. As you do this, some will be interested in partnering, and some won’t. The ones that are interested will be trained appropriately, and will start saving lives with us.

If this is something that you are interested in doing, please email me and let me know what YOUR target audience will be. Be specific! If you want to contact churches…tell me WHAT churches and WHERE. We must be clear so that we don’t contact the same people over and over. Make sense? Thank you all so very much!

Breaking the Silence,

Neil Schori

P.S. Please forward this to anyone else that you think may be interested.

Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence—“God does NOT want you to be abused…”

13 Sep

From yet another brave woman, telling her story of #DV and survival. Be encouraged as you read her story:

I would just like to say that I am one of those woman who Neil has helped escape the domestic violence that I lived with for too many years. It feels so tremendous to say!! I made a video and every time I think about it, it brings me to tears to think, I was one of those woman. How on earth did that happen. I think it is important for woman to know that it’s not just physical abuse that is considered domestic violence. I endured years of emotional and verbal abuse which eventually turned into what I would say is sexual abuse. I still struggle with excepting that but I am working on it. You don’t even realize it is happening because the abuser is so smooth in their tactics. You begin to question your own thoughts, feelings, and opinions and are ALWAYS trying to say or do the right thing. But it will never be the right thing in his eyes. I think Emotional and verbal abuse are often pushed aside because you have no proof, no bruises to show, but by no means is this to be minimized as anything but domestic violence. All abuse leaves a woman feeling defeated, unworthy, scared and unable to make sound decisions. You are constantly questioning everything you do and say whether it is good enough or was the right thing. I lost all sense of myself, I rarely saw friends and when I did I payed for it with verbal attacks for days afterwards. I felt like I was going crazy. I was told repeatedly that I would never get custody of my children he would say to scare me, I was told I had to have sex because he had needs, I was not allowed to go to family birthdays because he was not welcome because of his actions, this is very minimal to what I could write, but you get the point. I still remember the night before I left. I cried out to God to just rescue me, I knew I alone could do nothing to get out of this situation. I cried to God, alright In your time Lord, I trust you will open the door for me to leave. He answered me in less than 24 hours. You have to understand that for many years I prayed for a way out, but I was not fully leaning on my God, I was to be patient and he would open every door for me that I needed, and he did!! I got an order of protection and filed for divorce. I have been free physically for several months now, but the mental, emotional attacks continue most often daily through text messages, because I am in the custody battle of my life. I know God still has a great plan for me, I (and you) just have to trust him. I still struggle with feeling defeated, constantly checking over my shoulder when I hear familiar noises in public, and whenever I see him I slouch as if I am a beaten dog. I constantly tell myself to sit up straight to not allow him this power, I am a strong woman of God. And as all abused woman know this is very hard to believe when you’ve been told for so long other wise. the churches need to become very aware of domestic violence, because woman seek guidance from their church and when you are constantly told under no circumstance is divorce ok, you feel like you have no way out. This is why I am so thankful for Neil and is commitment to make churches more aware of domestic violence. The church I had been attending at the time made me feel like I was making my situation sound worse than it really was. You have to know that most churches response to divorce in a domestic violence situation is very wrong. God does NOT want you to be abused and would NEVER want you to stay under any circumstances. Neil has helped me understand this, he is a great pastor!!! If you don’t do anything to get yourself free, at least for your sanity put yourself in the word of God daily. Psalms is a wonderful book to read anytime you need a lift in your day. I tell myself and my children EVERYDAY to put on the armor of God. Just try it once it feels funny but, you will feel so empowered.

Armor of God ( you actually have to physically stand up in a room by yourself and pretend you are putting on all this armor)

Belt of Truth- God fills you with truth when Satan is filling you with lies, physically pretend to put on your belt.
Shoes of Peace- he is walking with you and helping you find peace. Physically pretend to put on your shoes.
Sword of the Spirit- hold it in your hand!
Shield of Faith-Hold it in your hand and claim it!
Helmet of Salvation- you are saved, Jesus loves you NO MATTER WHAT YOU have done in the past, present or will do in the future!
Put on the full body Armor of God!! It makes me feel awesome and more confident knowing I am protected. Also, make sure you are surrounded by people that can build you up daily, and reassure you that you are going to be okay and that you are not crazy! I am so thankful for people like Neil, Paula Silva, Susan Murphy-Milano and my mom and sister who always believed me and all of the other woman out there too. There are people who care!!