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Gender-Based Violence and Christianity: Catholic Prevention of Divorce Traps Women in an Abusive Marriage

Simister, J and Kowalewska, G (2016) Gender-Based Violence and Christianity: Catholic Prevention of Divorce Traps Women in an Abusive Marriage. Psychology, 07 (13). pp. 1624-1644. ISSN 2152-7180

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Abstract

This paper reports evidence on Gender-Based Violence (GBV), violence against women by husband or male partner, based on household surveys from many countries. A woman’s risk of experiencing domestic violence varies, within a country and between countries, for many reasons. This paper focuses on religion: in particular, comparing Catholics with Protestants. It reports evidence that Catholic women have a higher risk of GBV than Protestant women. A possible explanation for this higher risk is investigated: the ban on divorce by the Catholic Church. Household surveys confirm that Catholics are less likely than Protestants to divorce. Divorce is a possible escape-route for a woman abused by her husband; preventing divorce keeps many women trapped in marriage to a violent husband

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