21 May 2018 | Val Bernard, a lecturer at Dauphine University London and Bracknell and Wokingham College in the UK, is sharing findings from her PhD entitled It’s Not Good to Be Alone, Singleness and the 7th Day Black Single Woman.
Britain’s The Voice weekly newspaper (which caters to the UK’s Afro-Carribean community) reported on May 20th that Bernard was set to give a presentation at London-based Balham Seventh-day Adventist Church that day, aimed at helping single black women change their status to married.
The Voice reported that 65 per cent of British black Caribbean women are single, 59 per cent have never married and 59 percent of black Caribbean British families are headed by a single, often female parent.
“This is a crisis of epidemic proportions and the impact has been huge,” said Bernard. “Such high levels of involuntary celibacy among our women, the economic instability of our community, the difficult and challenging experiences of our youth, especially our boys. It has to stop and it will.”
Bernard’s research has led her to do in-depth interviews with single Adventist women and she has studied historical and social reasons why some have experienced difficulties finding a mate.
Her findings, according to The Voice, were as follows:
Black women believe that marriage is an expression of productive adulthood.
Spiritual problems arise for some black women when they can’t find a partner as they believe that marriage is divinely ordained.
Single black women believe maintaining celibacy shows spiritual strength but find celibate life difficult.
Many believe that the their quest to marry is complicated by the “strong black woman” stereotype.
Bernard believes churches have a special role to play in supporting black women:
“They need to take the high rates of involuntary singleness of black Caribbean women seriously and to recognise their contribution to the church despite a profound sense of emotional deprivation and include singleness in the curriculum in their training centres colleges and universities,” she said.
According to the Adventist denomination’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, there are 37,519 Adventists in Britain and there are 288 churches. The majority of British Adventists are of Afro-Caribbean descent.