A Church Problem | Sojourners

A Church Problem


In "Breaking the Holy Hush" (January 2007), Gail Martin makes the astonishing claim (attributed to Catherine Clark Kroeger) that "The rate of abuse in Christian homes is exactly the same as in the general population." As a marriage and family therapist with a special interest in domestic abuse, I'd like to see the research behind that statement. The article's lead sentence includes a U.S. Department of Justice estimate of the number of women raped or physically assaulted by their partners, but no source is given for what is happening in Christian homes.
I know of several studies of childhood abuse that clearly do not support the conclusion that the rate of abuse in Christian homes is "exactly the same as the general population." I will never deny problems with abuse and domestic violence in Christian families and congregations, nor minimize the seriousness of any individual victim's trauma. But for the sake of the church's credibility, if not its reputation, I'd like to see some actual evidence.

Harvey Yoder, LMFT
Harrisonburg, Virginia

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Sojourners Magazine March 2007
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