The Dual Use of Religious-Faith in Intimate Partner Abuse Perpetration: Perspectives of Latino Men in a Parish-based Intervention Program

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Dr. Maxine Davis
Dr. Melissa Jonson-Reid


religion, faith, spirituality, intimate partner violence, domestic violence


Little is known about the role that religious-faith plays in the lives of men who have acted abusively against an intimate partner. Studies report mixed findings about the relationship between religious-faith and intimate partner violence/abuse (IPV/A) perpetration. This study explored the perceptions of Latino men involved in a parish-based partner abuse intervention program (PAIP). Two focus groups were conducted with members of the PAIP (N=18). Two major themes emerged. Participants reported using religious-faith as a mechanism for ending violence. However, participants also reported past misuse of religion in order to gain control over intimate partners. These apparently conflicting roles of religion were further elucidated in several sub-themes. Religious-faith is complex. This study offers insight into how faith may serve as both a risk and protective factor for IPV/A perpetration. Implications for how intervention programs may address participants’ religious-faith during treatment and how religio-spiritual abuse is measured are discussed.

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