n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - Only real men respect women : the use of scripture in the violence against women pandemic : research article




Violence against women is disturbing, and yet it remains endemic in all societies. The South African Government passed the Domestic Violence Act into law in 1998 (Act 116 of 1998) as part of the country's local and international commitment to protecting the rights of women. The Domestic Violence Act is, however, but one tool for combating gender-based violence. Although violence against women particularly affects women, it also affects society at large in many negative ways. Now it is up to us as a society to determine each member's role in the campaign to eradicate violence against women. The idea is that pastors, police, shelter workers, lawyers, therapists and counsellors should work together to prevent abuse. What is the role of the Church in preventing the abuse of women? What is the role of Scripture in this scenario? The main issue is: what drives men and women to strive for superior and subordinate roles and to be content with the situation? Could the answers to these questions be found in religion, our family structures or traditions? Culture shapes the roles of men and women in society - religion and traditions also play an important role. The Church has the responsibility to help believers understand their proper roles as men and women in marriage, and in society at large. We may not use Scripture to make women feel guilty for leaving an abusive relationship, nor to keep women in subordinate positions, or to encourage the view that men have power over women. Sermons that condemn abuse, won't prevent it as long as we persist in proclaiming that patriarchy is prescribed by God, and that men are superior to women in relationships.


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