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Communities of Faith speak about Domestic Violence

BY GRETA MEYLE | NOVEMBER 01, 2013 5:00 AM

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A woman collected her confidence for the first time to confront her aggressor about his abusive actions, but in a ruthless effort to uphold his dominance, he barricaded the door and strangled her in front of their children — to the point of her passing out and even urinating.

“From what I understand now, that is what happens right before you die,” Jeff Nullmeyer said.

Nullmeyer was one of five speakers to share insights at the Johnson County Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Workshop “Domestic Violence: Communities of Faith Respond” on Thursday.

Nullmeyer, who was a counselor and an eventual caretaker to the anonymous victim, said that dealing with the situation was a learning experience.

“It was just a difficult situation, and I think especially for her, in the way of logic,” he said. “Part of the reason for that is again, through it all, he was a very nice, he was extremely charming, and in fact he was even soft-spoken.  He had a great sense of humor … and I think that was a tool that he would use.”

The anonymous victim Nullmeyer spoke of is not alone. In a 2009 study conducted by the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, boyfriend or girlfriend relationships recorded the highest number of domestic-abuse relationships, accounting for 51.7 percent, followed by spouses at 26.8 percent. 

For Ella Walker, a professional family mediator and domestic-violence survivor, the church is a place where people should be able to turn for help in these types of crises.

“I do hope one day that the skepticism from the professional field that people in law enforcement, social workers, directors of women’s shelters, the courts, will one day say there’s a pastor, there’s a church, they know how to deal with this; we’re going to send them there,” she said.

University of Iowa student Jorie Slodki, a Jewish student-life coordinator at Hillel House, said like other religions, Judaism recognizes domestic violence is sinful, and today there are many stereotypes and misinformation in the Jewish community.


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