China’s first national law against domestic violence was implemented in March, 2016. The law marked a significant advance of the country’s existing laws by legally defining domestic violence and extending legal protection to victims. Chinese churches are seldom able to address the issue of domestic violence. Pastors feel awkward and are inclined to dismiss it as unimportant or consider it as something a God-fearing woman would endure. We thank the Lord for laws offering real protection to those who are suffering abuse at homes.
The new domestic violence laws allow close relatives to file a complaint on behalf of victims who may not be able to do so on their own. This would then allow police or women’s federations to request restraining orders from the local courts. We pray for a change in attitude toward abuse taking place in homes, including the attitude of police toward it so that the issue can be discussed and dealt with more openly and new laws enforced so that the lives of victims will improve.
Although the new laws concerning domestic abuse represent significant progress in China, the deeply entrenched mindset is summed up in this idiom, "Don't wash your dirty linen in public." Domestic violence is even more prevalent in China's vast rural areas than in the cities. We pray for all who are experiencing violence but are unable to share their suffering with others. May the comfort of our Lord be with them because He is the Healer and the Deliverer of all who are oppressed and call on Him.
If the new domestic abuse laws are to have an impact in China, there must be a serious effort to change the traditional attitude and mindset of male dominance which is still very much alive and strong in the rural culture of China. There are many Christian men and even pastors who have issues of violence toward their family members. We pray for conviction by the Holy Spirit and a renewal of heart for these brothers as well as complete healing for their families. "My beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." James 1:19, 20
When a policeman in China receives a call to intervene in domestic violence, it is still not clear to what degree he should intervene or try to solve the problem. The effect of the law is greatly diminished if the local police fail to pay attention to such calls. We pray for wisdom for church leaders, not only in bringing awareness of spousal abuse to their churches but also an increased involvement in caring and counselling those who have marital problems and physical abuse at home.
Churches in China must reconsider how they will respond to domestic violence. Some Chinese Christians have reported “My parents won’t become Christians because my sister’s husband beats her, and he claims that he’s a Christian.”We pray for conviction of the Holy Spirit on brothers whose temperaments are carnal and who commit sinful deeds because “God hates divorce and violence against one's wife.” (Mal 2:16) We pray that there will be prompt assistance and therapy for them and their families.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that believing ladies are repeatedly beaten by their unbelieving husbands. Many pastors in China would simply urge the victims to endure with love and patience, not considering their need for protection and refugee. It is true that the vast majority of pastors in China have little or no training in marital counseling. We pray for materials, curriculum, and actual training that would equip pastors so they can at least adequately handle the cases of domestic violence in their churches.