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World News

Domestic abuse victims advocate creates Christian resource for healthy relationship education

by Premier Journalist

An advocate for victims of domestic abuse has launched a new resource for churches to help them teach young people more about healthy relationships.

Sally Hope, who runs the website 'Always Hopeful', says there's not enough being done to address underlying attitudes behind sexual assault.

She spoke to Premier Christian News as comedian and broadcaster Russell Brand denies multiple allegations of sexual crimes. Brand has said although he was well known for being promiscuous in the past, every relationship he had was consensual.

"Research from an organisation called Safe Lives, found that only half of young people consider that to be adequate in teaching them about toxic unhealthy relationships. Only 24 per cent of people recall being told about coercive control. And then worse, nearly a quarter of boys are saying that they're turning to pornography for education about sex. So essentially, if we don't teach our children about healthy relationships, then the porn industry is going to do it. So, where do we want them to learn from? Do we want them to learn from the church? Or do we want them to learn from porn?," Hope said.

"So we've got this gap. Children are saying that they're not learning enough from the sex education that they get in school; they need to learn more about relationships, not just the sex part. They need the whole picture. And you know, we've got the answer in the Bible, we've got Jesus."

Hope has created a model for what a healthy relationship looks like "in practical terms", using the contrasting figures of Adam and Jesus.

"So the way I positioned it is, you can behave like Adam in your relationship, who introduced sin into the world and wants power and control. Or you can behave like Jesus, who is love incarnate. So the resource looks at how Jesus behaves, [asking] how do we know what how Jesus behaves? Well, we know because we can look at 1 Corinthians 13 because Jesus is love.

"So a healthy relationship is patient. It's kind, it's truthful. It's protecting, trusting, it's hopeful. It's persevering, and it's consistent. And that same passage tells us what love is not. It's not envious. It's not boastful, it's not arrogant, it's not rude. It's not selfish, it's not irritable, it doesn't rejoice in wrongdoing, and it isn't resentful."

The resource is available for anyone to download, free of charge, and includes visual aids, Bible studies around one Corinthians 13, and also on Genesis, to depict, according to Hope, "how relationships were supposed to look and how things went wrong".

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