Religious people are less likely to recognize domestic violence within their own religious communities.
That’s according to a new study which also found that religious people are more likely to have patriarchal views on gender roles, seen as a driver of gender-based violence.
Australian National University principal researcher Professor Naomi Priest, who noted that religious people still regard domestic violence as a problem of national importance, examined the determinants of domestic violence in 1,200 people.
She said research has revealed a major barrier to solving the problem within these communities.
“There seems to be a lack of capacity or willingness to recognize (domestic violence),” she said.
“We see it in other organizations, an attitude of ‘this is not in our backyard’ – it is a very human phenomenon. But we certainly see it within denominations, prioritizing patriarchy. . “
Professor Priest also found that “harmful” responses from religious leaders were common, including defensiveness, blaming victims and too much emphasis on forgiveness while sacrificing personal safety.
Statistically, incidents of domestic violence are not more common in faith communities.
Simply put, this study found that if you’re religious, it doesn’t mean you think domestic violence isn’t happening. But you’re not inclined to recognize it as a problem among members of your own. faith, ”she said.
It was also found that attendance at religious services, frequency of praying, and religious identity were all associated with patriarchal beliefs about gender roles.
Professor Priest said the research raised serious questions about religion and equality.
“We need to continue to have conversations about the role of religion in public life,” she said.
“How we maintain this freedom for people to practice religion is important because it is a fundamental right, but work needs to be done with communities on particular issues and to make sure people are safe.
“We need to ask very serious questions about gender equality.”
Associated Australian Press