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Counselling Christian Women, on how to deal with domestic violence

Lynne M. Baker
Australian Academic Press, 2010
RRP $34.95

Reviewed by Marian Zauchenbrecher.

According to author Lynne Baker, domestic abuse is the elephant in the room whenever the church gathers to worship.

She estimates that one out of three women suffer from domestic abuse, be it physical, emotional, psychological or economic abuse or a combination of these, yet is it rarely named and confronted.

Counselling Christian Women is a PhD thesis published as a book.

The author’s research of the literature, prevalence of abuse, coupled with her interviews with 20 Australian Christian women is sound and makes a great contribution to the subject.

Unfortunately however, the book often reads like a PhD thesis.

I would have preferred to have seen more rigorous editing to make the material more accessible to readers.

What Dr Baker has to say is important for all counsellors and Christian clergy to assist them in the support of abused victims.

Dr Baker gives good advice, exploring the various aspects such as the issues of forgiveness and repentance, divorce and separation, as well as mediation which assumes that there is equality within the relationship and therefore often not a practicable course of action.

Above all, it shows to women suffering abuse (and it is usually women) that abuse is the choice of the abuser in order to control and to dominate, it is not her own behaviour that is responsible.

It is important that the abused know that are not alone, and there is a predictable cycle of behaviour by the abuser.
Abuse does not reflect the Divine purposes for relationships.

This book is a great resource for the whole church and is available from www.aapbooks.com