The Daughters of the Heart of Mary are against violence in all its forms. Violence degrades and destroys the body, mind, and spirit. It is a malign force in the world. Violence especially impacts women, children, the vulnerable, and marginalized. There are various reasons why violence is perpetrated by individuals and is present within families. To eradicate violence within our culture, the root causes must be addressed. Commitment, compassion, empathy, dialogue, and analysis are necessary to alleviate the pain caused by societal and individual violence.
When Pope Francis addressed the U.S. Congress, he stated, “Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”
Pope Francis in 2019 condemned gun violence in the U.S. after a rash of shootings throughout the country. In 2020, he publicly lamented rising gun sales in the United States as a symptom of a "violent, unstable society." The Pope called for world leaders to "dismantle the perverse logic that links personal and national security to the possession of weaponry.” He wrote, “This logic serves only to increase the profits of the arms industry, while fostering a climate of distrust and fear between persons and peoples.”
An analysis from the Washington Free Beacon posited that gun sales in the U.S. hit their all-time high in 2020. More than 16.5 million guns were sold through October, a 33% increase in sales from 2019. In 2016, the previous record-holder, about 1.6 million guns were sold.
Domestic violence is defined as violent, abusive, or bullying behavior or actions towards a partner or former partner to scare and control them. It causes fear and results in harm to the body, mind, and spirit. Domestic violence can be physical, psychological, and/or emotional.
If you are being abused, reach out to someone. Do not let your abuser know that you are leaving or seeking help, as this can result in extreme harm. Be strategic, be careful, be courageous. More help and support await you than you realize. God did not create anyone to be a victim. God loves you!
Resource: National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233, www.thehotline.org
Sexual assault is one of the most traumatic types of criminal victimization. Most crime victims find it difficult to discuss their victimization, however sexual assault victims find it especially painful. One reason is that many victims of sexual assault are intensely traumatized not only by the humiliation of their physical violation but by the fear of being severely injured or killed. Only men and women who have suffered this type of trauma themselves can begin to understand the depth and complexity of the feelings experienced by someone who has been sexually assaulted.
Tips for Responding to Victims of Sexual Assault
• Be prepared for any type of emotional reaction by victims. Be unconditionally supportive and permit them to express their emotions, which may include crying, angry outbursts, and screaming.
• Approach victims calmly. Showing your outrage at the crime may cause them even more trauma.
• Ask whether they would like you to contact a family member or friend.
• Be careful not to appear overprotective or patronizing.
• Remember that it is normal for victims to want to forget, or to actually forget, details of the crime that are difficult for them to accept.
• Encourage sexual assault victims to get medical attention.
Resource: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) uses the 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline to connect you to a trained staff member. The advocacy group uses the first six digits of your phone number to route you to a local affiliate organization that can provide details about resources in your area. This call is confidential. Staff members won’t report your call to law enforcement unless required to by the laws in your state.
Pope Francis Offers Prayers for Those Killed in Capitol Hill Violence