Saint James College Seminary
Collaborative Project on
Violence Against Women
Institute for Women's Studies
Help study--and cure--abuse against women   Sexual assault and
    increasing.  Much
    originates in so-called
    "macho cultures".  
    And, shockingly, a
    great deal of abuse
    occurs within religious

    Our patriarchal society allows
    violence to flourish. Violence in
    our homes is widespread and
    religious households are no

    Saint James College
    Seminary is offering
    women's studies, divinity,
    spiritual social work and
counseling students the opportunity to research why Americans seem to have
"cultural permission" to abuse women.  

Participants will have the opportunity to conduct meaningful research leading to
recommended policy changes and advocacy efforts.   This program is offered in
collaboration with our sister institution,
The Women's College. (

Types of abuse against women:

When speaking of abuse against women,
society often thinks in terms of various
forms of physical abuse. However,
    We are a
    in spiritual
    and ethical
    issues in
    the direction
    that the
Program envisions centers around violence
against women and intimate partner abuse
within the religious community.  

Increasingly, ministers, priests, social workers,
and family counselors are becoming aware of
three disturbing realities:

1)  Although we may
expect that women in
"families of faith" may
experience fewer
incidents of intimate
partner abuse than
women who reside in
secular families, it is
becoming clear that
there is considerable
abuse of women in
religious families. Many
faith communities deny
this problem exists. In the
most extreme situations, some even justify it.

2)  Some self-identified religious families
subscribe to the Apostle Paul's instructions in
Ephesians 5:25 that women should be
submissive to their husbands (see also 1 Peter
3:1 and Colossians 3:18). Evidence is growing
that some men who believe in a literal
translation of these scriptures and who identify
themselves as a fundamentalist person of faith
feel as though it is their duty to keep "their"
women in line. This may involve acts of violence
and abuse.

3) Some anecdotal evidence is mounting that
incidents of abuse perpetrated by Christian and
other religious males are hidden or covered up
by their religious community. It is increasingly
coming to light that some so-called "model
Christian" communities shame abused women
into submission and silence.
More research is called for in
terms of violence against women
The academic literature on intimate
partner abuse in the context of religious
communities is very limited.
Nonetheless, interest in this type of
phenomenon is growing within both the
counseling community and the faith

What role does religious affiliation play
in relation to intimate partner abuse? Is
there a correlation between male-
dominated theologies and so-called
“macho” cultural practices? Are
religious men more likely to commit
acts of violence against their partners?
Is this violence more likely to occur
within fundamentalist Christian homes?
Do some religious teachings
    promote the
    oppression of

    Initial anecdotal
    indicators are
    that women are
    more likely to
    violence or
    other forms of
    serious abuse in
where a male claims the authority to "be
in charge" and believes that it is his right
to require his wife or female partner to
be submissive to his whims and

The National Survey of Families and
Households (1988 - 1994) offered
indications that religious dissimilarity
increased the incidence of abuse.  
Although the survey data is becoming
outdated, the study continues to be used
regularly due to the importance of its

The study discovered that men with
considerably more conservative
theological views than their partners
were more likely to commit intimate
partner abuse.

(Note that the statement doesn't say
may" commit abuse.  It says that these
men are more
likely to do so.)

Do you know how many women are actually beaten or abused?

    Do you know how many women are
    actually beaten or abused?

    One in every three women, according to
    the United Nations.  

    That's right.

    UN statistics report that one women in
    every three worldwide has been beaten,
    coerced into sex, or abused by some other
    means during her lifetime. What's more,
    Dr. Michelle Bachelet Jeria, the
    former President of Chile, has sobering statistics to report in her
    current role as the Under-Secretary General for the United Nations
    and Executive Director for UN Women. She reports that women
    and girls are at risk of experiencing violence throughout their
    entire lives. And, the fact is that this violence typically
    perpetrated against them by the men who are closest to them,
    such as husbands or other intimate partners.  

             -- Editing by Dr. Joy Berry

Interested in
EMAIL US for more details

"Time" Magazine
published a cover story
featuring 18-year old
Bibi Aisha who was
grotesquely mutilated by
the Taliban.  The picture
and story appear
caution that it is difficult
to look at

Following three decades
of debate and promises,
the U.S. government has
still failed to ratify the
International  Convention
on the Elimination of
Discrimination Against