Original Research - Practical Theology

Domestic abuse in marriage and self-silencing: Pastoral care in a context of self-silencing

Sinenhlanhla S. Chisale
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 2 | a4784 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i2.4784 | © 2018 Sinenhlanhla S. Chisale | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 August 2017 | Published: 31 May 2018


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Abstract

The socialisation of women into self-silencing by religion has complicated pastoral care interventions for the victims of domestic violence, particularly within the context of marriage. This article is written from an intercultural approach to pastoral care and applies the theory on silence. The aim of this article is to explore the way pastoral caregivers can extend caregiving to the victims of marital domestic violence who have silenced the self. The article draws from qualitative data that were collected through autobiographical narratives, in-depth interviews and observations, and analysed through thematic analysis. The findings indicate that women are forced to silence the self in contexts of domestic violence by not speaking about the abuse that takes place in marriage. The self-silencing is justified by those who interpret Biblical texts that address marriage naively; in this case one of the two women who participated in this study confirmed that Proverbs 21:9 is used to justify self-silencing. Thus, the article concludes that pastoral care interventions in such contexts should include a circle of the significant others that women interact with such as the perpetrator and the broader community, including her social networks.

Keywords

Domestic Abuse; Self-Silencing; Pastoral Care; Marriage

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