Cultural Competence & Respect
Faith/religion/spirituality are essential cultural competencies for anyone working with those who have faced traumatic and/or violent experiences. Spiritual beliefs, faith, and religious communities can be critical resources for survivors, as well as those who serve them.
For victims/survivors faith can be a RESOURCE of hope and healing that provides:
Connection to something greater
Connection to community and support
Connection to family, tradition, history
Accessible language of hope, healing, and a recognition of suffering
Common ROADBLOCKS for victims/survivors related to faith/religion:
Traditional gender role expectations based on sacred texts/traditions (female submission, male headship)
Ideas of family structure (parenting rights/obligations, beliefs about divorce)
Definition and purpose of suffering (God’s will, punishment for imperfection)
Expectations for forgiveness and reconciliation (turn the other cheek, forgive and forget)
Misuse of sacred scriptures, texts, and traditions to support the abuse
Questions for advocates and activists to consider:
Regarding faith/religion, what have you encountered in the domestic violence movement?
What barriers or challenges have you encountered?
What difference has faith made in the lives of victims/survivors with whom you’ve worked?
What are the barriers that faith cultures and traditions put in the way of survivors, and how do you overcome/counteract them?