Clifford R. Goldstein is the Editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide and a prolific author.

How could her friends have not heard? Limping, arm in sling, dark, thick bruises on her face, a tooth missing, one cracked, Sophia must have been hit by a car.

Her friends got it right, almost. She was hit, but not by a car. 

It was by her husband instead!

There were rumors, hints, nasty little gossip actually, about Sophia and her husband, but most folks just shrugged it off. It wasn’t their concern; it was a personal family matter. Besides, her husband seemed like such a nice guy. Probably no truth to it. That’s what they all, even her closest friends, thought . . . at least until they saw Sophia with their own eyes and, then, heard in pitiful detail her describe what really happened.

Many people know about violence against women but not until you meet the victims personally, up front and in-your-face, does the stark reality of this worldwide phenomenon come painfully home. 

The numbers stagger you: an estimated one in three woman around the world will be beaten, raped, or abused (in some countries, the numbers are almost twice as high); more than 50 percent of women in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and Tanzania reported having experienced physical or sexual abuse by an “intimate partner” (i.e., husbands or boyfriends); in the United States, one third of women murdered are killed by “intimate partners.” All over the world, hundreds of thousands of women, even children, are victims of human trafficking in which they are sexually exploited. More than 100 million women have been victimized by female genital mutilation, and thousands more every day are at risk. In some battle zones, rape is a common tool of war. 

The numbers go on and on. The only problem? They aren’t numbers: they are human beings made in the image of God, people for whom Christ died. Thus, this terrible crime against humanity must stop. But, given human nature, it won’t, not by itself, anyway.

That’s exactly why we—you, I, our church—must enditnow.

Hence the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has begun a world-wide campaign, enditnow™, not just to help bring awareness of this terrible scourge but to, well, enditnow. Working with the Women’s Ministries Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, ADRA has launched the enditnow™ campaign in order to raise awareness of the problem and seek solutions to it.

It’s easy for us, as Adventists, to shake our heads at this terrible fact about what’s going on “in the world.” Unfortunately, before we start shaking our self-righteous heads too hard, we need to be aware that violence against women is something that our own church isn’t immune to, either. Some Adventist husbands emotionally or even physically abuse their wives. Imagine someone beating his wife during the week and then going to church on Sabbath!

Let’s not fool ourselves: it happens.

“That is why,” said Heather-Dawn Small, director of Women’s Ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, “we are choosing to launch a campaign that increases personal awareness, responsibility and involvement within our church, in order to effectively help end violence against women and girls in every family and community.”

"That is why, we are choosing to launch a campaign that increases personal awareness, responsibility and involvement within our church, in order to effectively help end violence against women and girls in every family and community" Heather-Dawn Small

Closing our eyes to the problem won’t make it go away, either. For that reason ADRA and Women’s Ministries are urging church members to get involved. With 15 million Seventh-day Adventists around the world, we can make a difference. We can help enditnow™. As church elders, you can have a powerful role in helping your local church be part of this worthwhile venture.

As you have done it to one of the least of these . . .you have done it unto Me. If the “least of these” doesn’t mean also women and girls abused, beaten, and sexually exploited, then what does it mean? In the parable of the Good Samaritan, if the person left on the side of the road, stripped of clothes, beaten, and abandoned for dead doesn’t include abused women, what does it include? 

Thus the burning question is—What can you, the church elder, do?

• Go to the campaign’s official website, www.; there you will learn not only about the depth of the problem but how you can help get local church members invested in this campaign.
• You can sign a petition (it’s on the above website) that states, in part: “Seventh-day Adventists and supporters from more than 200 countries and territories join to advocate the end of all forms of violence against women and girls.” Work through your local church to get as many supporters as possible to sign Once we reach one million, we are going to deliver it to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. If just one out of every 15 Adventists sign it, we’ll have the million names.
• Seek to get the pastor’s support. With his or her backing, the local church can play a big role, locally. The work has to start in the local church, the local community. If all the thousands of Seventh-day Adventist churches around the world took a lead role, the impact would be powerful.
• This campaign shouldn’t be just the work of ADRA or the Women’s Ministries department. Seek to get all other ministries as possible on board. This can heighten awareness of the problem and make our work more effective.
• To whatever degree possible, get the local community involved: police, school principals, community leaders, other churches, shelters for battered women. The problem in some places is so large that many people will be willing to help.
• Ask the pastor to preach on the subject or to get someone qualified to stand in the pulpit and talk about this issue.
• Please pray for the success of this initiative.

These are just a few of the many options. To get more information, go to our website and click on the “resources,” and “events” and “make a change” tags. These pages are filled with information on how your church can be part of a worldwide movement to end this global problem.

We can talk about grace, about the Sabbath, and “present truth” all we want. But a woman being beaten, sexually abused, or genitally mutilated is going to have other things on her mind besides which is the right day to rest, or what is the true state of the dead (though she might be thinking about death). Jesus first ministered to people’s needs. Then He preached the gospel to them. A woman, any woman, being abused is a woman in need.

Meet those needs; the rest will follow in turn.

How can we call ourselves “human,” much less “Christian,” if we ignore this horrible crime?

The Sophias of the world want it to stop. That’s why your church has launched this program. But ADRA and Women’s Ministries can’t do it alone. They need you, the elder, to get the local church involved. 

How else can we enditnow?

Clifford Goldstein is director of the Adult Bible Study Guide at the General Conference;