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An Online Resource Library on Gender-Based Violence.

A Commentary on Religious Issues in Family Violence

General Material
Published Date
January, 1991

This article is a commentary addressing some of the common religious concerns raised by people dealing with family violence (including child sexual abuse and incest) and illustrates ways of converting potential religious roadblocks into valuable resources for those dealing with violence.

The author, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and founder of FaithTrust Institute (formerly known as the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence), explains how personal faith for a religious person can provide much needed strength and courage when facing a crisis and making life changes. Fortune discusses the role of churches and synagogues in providing community support for victims, abusers, and their children; emphasizes that the crisis of family violence affects people physically, psychologically, and spiritually; and concludes that each of these dimensions must be addressed, both for victims and for those in the family who abuse them.

The author concludes that treatment of families experiencing violence and abuse requires integrating the needs of the whole person. Thus, the importance of developing a shared understanding and co-operation between secular and religious helpers to deal with family violence is emphasized.

Sections of this paper include:

The Importance of Religious Issues: Roadblocks or Resources?
Cooperative Roles for Secular Counselor and Minister/Rabbi
Scriptural and Theological Issues

Substantial contributions to this paper were made by Judith Hertz of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. The article primarily addresses theology from a Christian and Jewish perspective due to the background and experiences of the author and contributors.

Associated Files