In February of 1984 Friend Judy Brutz, then a young mother and master’s student at Iowa State University, wrote and published in The Journal of Marriage and Family a study of liberal Quakers and family violence. She was expecting to find that, because of our peace testimony, and our public commitment to pacifism, we would experience less domestic violence than the general population. What she found shook her to her core. We are on par with everyone else in the United States in terms of violence in the home. We have at least as high a rate of domestic violence as every other population. 

Here is a clip of Friend Judy describing the early part of that journey from a recent interview we had, via Skype:

She spent the next several years traveling the country, speaking against domestic violence and raising awareness of it in our lives. Friends responded unevenly. Some of us embraced the results of the study and others of us were openly hostile to it and to Judy personally. Judy, self-described as shy, and maybe like many Quaker heroes, driven by a sense of purpose she didn’t always enjoy, wrote, spoke and sometimes receded to the background. It was overwhelming to be told so many stories about dramatic acts of abuse and violence that had been silenced, to be welcomed, and to be rejected.

Query: How do Friends respond to domestic violence today, almost 40 years later? Do we speak openly about it in our lives? Are we prepared to respond to it in our meetings? 

Go Deeper:

To read the study By Judy Brutz go to: https://www.jstor.org/stable/351859?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

For further reading, please see the pamphlets, now out of print, that Judy wrote as a follow up in her ministry. Attached are Parable and Transforming Power Among Friends and Becoming a Beatitude People

You can visit Judy, in her ministry of today, which is about the power of poetry and centering prayer at https://www.judybrutz.com

For a more recent survey of domestic violence in the church , in general, please see: https://sojo.net/resources/broken-silence-call-churches-speak-out-survey

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