Religion & Domestic Violence: Information and Resources - Key Issue: Interpretations of Religious Doctrine

Certain interpretations of particular religious tenets are often used by batterers to manipulate and control their partners. Frequently referenced tenets that focus on the nature of heterosexual marriage have been included for discussion in this packet.

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Religion & Domestic Violence: Information and Resources - Key Issue: Interpretations of Religious Doctrine by The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (2007)

Certain interpretations of particular religious tenets are often used by batterers to manipulate and control their partners. The use of these teachings to justify abusive behavior and the imbalance of power within a relationship can further contribute to the feelings of guild and self-blame many victims experience as a result of the abuse. Although interpretations may be given to religious teachings and traditions that imply the absolute authority of a husband over his wife, many scholars argue that it is inappropriate to use these teachings in their full contexts to support mysogynist behavior in marital relationships or sociocultural arenas. The most frequently referenced Judaic, Islamic and Christian tenets that focus on the nature of heterosexual marriage and the gender roles within that relationship have been included for discussion in this packet.

Excerpt: "Throughout history, religious beliefs, traditions and teachings have been used both to justify and to denounce the use of violence against women. When religious teachings are used to justify domestic violence, they become a tool by which batterers assume and maintain power and control over their partners. The use of these teachings to justify abusive behavior and the imbalance of power within a relationship can also further contribute to the feelings of guilt and self-blame many victims experience as a result of the abuse. Some interpretations of religious texts and teachings imply that husbands have absolute authority over obedient and submissive wives. However, after a careful examination of these teachings in their full context, many religious scholars argue that it is inappropriate to use them to support misogynist behavior within a relationship or to generalize these beliefs to the treatment of women within the larger community."

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