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Risks and Opportunities of Faith and Culture: The Case of Abused Jewish Women

Abstract

Intimate partner abusers often focus on physical violence, but abuse may also include exploiting a partner’s faith or subculture. Alternatively, faith or subculture may be a source of strength and support for victims. We explored this by analyzing case files from a Jewish domestic violence services agency. Jewish identity conditions women’s experiences with intimate partner abuse through the use of Judaism as a “tool” for abuse, the role of Jewish holidays and observances, and the role of the Jewish community. While partners of abused Jewish women often perverted the laws and traditions of Judaism to control their partners and the reaction of the larger community varied, being part of an integrated cultural and religious community offered support for some women.

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Correspondence to Alison C. Cares.

Additional information

The authors wish to thank the board and staff of the agency, Lisa Michels for her help in coding of case files, and David Hirschel, Barry Ruback, and anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier drafts. Data and funding for this research were provided by SHALVA. The views in this article may not necessarily reflect the views of SHALVA.

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Cares, A.C., Cusick, G.R. Risks and Opportunities of Faith and Culture: The Case of Abused Jewish Women. J Fam Viol 27, 427–435 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-012-9435-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-012-9435-3

Keywords

  • Domestic violence
  • Intimate partner abuse
  • Spiritual abuse