By David Lee on November 6, 2009 · tagged as , , , ,

Religion and Violence Against Women Prevention

During an event last weekend for Shalom Bayit, a Bay area organization dedicated to ending domestic violence in the Jewish community,  I was talking to a rabbi who co-chairs their Rabbinic Advisory Council. The rabbi told me that after addressing domestic violence for the last ten years, he is more dedicated than ever to educating young people.

I responded that I want to focus on how to change culture – I see education as only one step of the process.  And faith communities can play a vital role in helping shape values and culture.

In a recent article appearing on the journal Social Science Research, the authors explore the role the Catholic Church plays in people’s experiences with domestic violence.

The full citation and link to the article on the journal’s web site follows the jump.

Religion and intimate partner violence in Chile: macro- and micro-level influences.

Lehrer EL, Lehrer VL, Krauss RC. Social Science Research 2009; 38(3): 635-43.

Click here for a link to the journal.

A similar version of the article is available as IZA Discussion Paper No. 4067, March 2009

(Copyright © 2009, Elsevier Publishing)

The Catholic Church has had a strong influence on the Chilean legal and social landscape in ways that have adversely affected victims of intimate partner violence; e.g., it succeeded until just five years ago in blocking efforts to legalize divorce. At the same time, quantitative studies based on survey data from the United States and other countries show a generally favorable influence of religion on health and many other domains of life, including intimate partner violence. The present study explores the puzzle posed by these seemingly opposing macro- and micro-level forces. Results based on data from the 2005 Survey of Student Well-Being, a questionnaire on gender-based violence administered to students at a large public university in Chile, show that moderate or low levels of religiosity are associated with reduced vulnerability to violence, but high levels are not. This non-linearity sheds light on the puzzle, because at the macro level the religious views shaping Chile’s legal and social environment have been extreme.

David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

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