Domestic Violence in Oceania: The Sin of Disobedience and the Violence of Obedience

Part of the Religion and Radicalism book series (RERA)


In this chapter, Richard Davis discusses the concepts of obedience and disobedience in relation to gender violence, exploring how Christian theological understandings of obedience, disobedience, and sin contribute to domestic violence and abuse. He argues that in majority Christian societies, such as his own location in the Pacific Islands, notions of obedience and disobedience are heavily influenced by faith and, in particular, understandings of sin. Particularly, in both domestic and political spheres, theological notions of sin-as-disobedience may influence the ways that disobedience and obedience are understood. This in turn reinforces the wholesale imperative for obedience—from both citizens and wives—while justifying violence in the event of perceived “disobedience.” Davis suggests that, by redefining the meaning of obedience/disobedience, and by considering sin within a more relational framework (sin-as-broken-relationships), Christians may be better placed to begin the much-needed process of tackling gender violence.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacific Theological CollegeSuvaFiji

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