Gender Based Violence & the Church [Resources]

Gender Based Violence and the Church [Resources]

by Rudy Mitchell, Senior Researcher

The Church has a critical role in prevention, intervention, and healing from gender-based violence (GBV). GBV includes domestic abuse, sexual assault, incest, human trafficking, and other forms of abuse, most often directed towards females.

GBV happens in every corner of the U.S., and it happens in church families. Church leadership can equip themselves to respond with wisdom and skill when we become aware of GBV in our church or community.

Healing the Wounded Heart, 2017

See also the companion workbook and conference audio of the same title. See also the Allender Center website for information and resources. 

The mission of The Allender Center is to "foster redemption and healing in individuals, couples, and communities by helping them tell their stories with awareness and integrity while also training leaders and professionals to engage the stories of others with courage, artistry, and care."



Religion & Intimate Partner Violence, 2017

Because this book is based on many years of research, it can give evidence and illustrations for its many insights, principles, and proposed solutions.

Each chapter presents key findings in numbered points with detailed descriptions and illustrations, followed by proposed solutions and practical applications based on extensive research and experience.

The chapters deal with ministry with victims/survivors, and also with abusers (based on additional research). Another chapter explores the complex dynamics within the congregation as a whole when dealing with domestic violence ministry.

Two final chapters cover the need for more training for church leaders, with specific suggestions, and the importance of collaborative community responses.  This very readable study is perhaps the most comprehensive, research-based, and practical book on this topic.


Broken Vows

FaithTrust Institute

Broken Vows, 1994

This film is a two‐part (37 minutes and 22 minutes) documentary that presents the religious perspectives on domestic violence including Jewish, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical Christian. There is also a Spanish language version.


Domestic Violence: What Churches Can Do

Faith Trust Institute

Domestic Violence: What Churches Can Do, 2009.

This is a 20‐minute video to be used with a 24‐page study guide and brochures in a one hour educational program. Offers basic information on domestic violence, as well as concrete ideas about how congregations can become involved in prevention and offer a safe space for battered women.




Storkey, Elaine. Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women.  Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2018.


Domestic Battery / Wife Abuse / Intimate Partner Violence

Alsdurf, James, and Phyllis Alsdurf. Battered Into Submission: The Tragedy of Wife Abuse in the Christian Home. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 1998. (originally- Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1989).

Basham, Beth, and Sara Lisherness, editors. Striking Terror No More: The Church Responds to Domestic Violence. 2nd edition. Louisville, Ken.: Bridge, Resources, 2006. Although written with Presbyterian churches in mind, this book with its essays, worksheets, and workshop lesson plans can be used in other churches.

Broken Silence: A Call for Churches to Speak Out—Protestant Pastors Survey on Sexual and Domestic Violence. Washington, DC: Sojourners and IMA World Health, 2014.

Cooper‐White, Pamela. “Intimate Violence Against Women: Trajectories for Pastoral Care in a New Millennium.” Pastoral Psychology 60, no. 6 (2011):809-855.

Ellison, Christopher G., and Kristin L. Anderson. “Religious Involvement and Domestic Violence among U.S. Couples.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 40 (2001): 269-286.

Gaddis, Patricia Riddle.  Battered But Not Broken: Help for Abused Wives and Their Church Families. Valley Forge, Penn.: Judson Press, 1996.

Kroeger, Catherine Clark, and Nancy Nason-Clark. No Place for Abuse: Biblical and Practical Resources to Counteract Domestic Violence. Revised ed. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2010.

Miles, Al. Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Should Know. Rev. ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011.

Murphy, Nancy. God’s Reconciling Love: A Pastor’s Handbook on Domestic Violence. Seattle, Wash.: FaithTrust Institute, 2003.

Nason‐Clark, Nancy. The Battered Wife: How Christians Confront Family Violence. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1997.

Newton, Dorothy J. Silent Cry: The True Story of Abuse and Betrayal of an NFL Wife. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2015. Although her life appeared successful to outsiders, Dorothy Newton was being treated abusively by her husband, who was a Dallas Cowboy football star. This is a story of pain, survival, hope, recovery, and new life in relationship with Christ.


Family Violence

Branson, Brendan, and Paula J. Silva. Violence Among Us: Ministry to Families in Crisis. Valley Forge, Penn.: Judson Press, 2007.

Fortune, Marie M. Violence in the Family: A Workshop Curriculum for Clergy and Other Helpers. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1991.

Kroeger, Catherine Clark, Nancy Nason-Clark, and Barbara Fisher-Townsend, editors. Beyond Abuse in the Christian Home: Raising Voices for Change. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2008.

Miller, Melissa. A.  Family Violence: The Compassionate Church Responds. Scottdale, Penn.: Herald Press, 1994.


Sexual Assault / Abuse

Broken Silence: A Call for Churches to Speak Out—Protestant Pastors Survey on Sexual and Domestic Violence. Washington, DC: Sojourners and IMA World Health, 2014.

Pellauer, Mary D. Sexual Assault and Abuse ‐ A Handbook for Clergy and Religious Professionals. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987.


Culture-Based Resources

Choi, Y. Joon. “Korean American Clergy Practices Regarding Intimate Partner Violence: Roadblock or Support for Battered Women?” Journal of Family Violence 30 (2015): 293-302.

Eugene, Toinette, and James Poling.  Balm for Gilead: Pastoral Care for African American Families Experiencing Abuse. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998.

White, Evelyn C.  Chain, Chain, Change: For Black Women in Abusive Relationships, 2nd edition. Seattle, Wash.: Seal Press, 1994.


Church/Religion-Based Studies

Cooper‐White, Pamela. The Cry of Tamar: Violence against Women and the Church’s Response. 2nd edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012.

Ellison, Christopher G., Jenny A. Trinitapoli, Kristin L. Anderson, and Byron R. Johnson. “Race/Ethnicity, Religious Involvement, and Domestic Violence.” Violence Against Women 13, no.11 (2007)): 1094-1112.

Heggen, Carolyn, H.  Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1993.

Horton, Anne L., and Judith A. Williamson, editors. Abuse and Religion: When Praying Isn’t Enough. Lexington: Lexington Books, 1988. This extensive anthology is one of the most comprehensive.

Interrogating the Silence: Religious Leaders Attitudes Toward Sexual and Gender Based Violence.   Cambridge, Mass.: Science, Religion, and Culture program, Harvard Divinity School, 2015. Online at-  Sojourners and IMA World Health, on behalf of WeWillSpeakOut.US, commissioned a survey of Protestant pastors’ views on sexual and domestic violence.

Johnson, Andy J., editor.  Religion and Men's Violence against Women.  New York: Springer, 2015.

Nason-Clark, Nancy, Barbara Fisher-Townsend, and Victoria Fahlberg, eds. Strengthening Families and Ending Abuse: Churches and Their Leaders Look to the Future. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2013.

Volcano Press Staff, compilers. Family Violence and Religion: An Interfaith Resource Guide. Volcano, CA: Volcano Press, 1995.


For Women

Fortune, Marie M.  Keeping the Faith: Guidance for Christian Women Facing Abuse. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1995.

Holcomb Justin S., and Lindsey A. Holcomb.  Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence. Chicago: Moody Press, 2014.

Holcomb, Justin S., and Lindsey A. Holcomb. Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault.  Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2011.

McCaig, Mari, and Edward S. Kubany. Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence: A Workbook for Women. Oakland, Calif.: New Harbinger Publications, 2004.

Nason-Clark, Nancy, and‎ Catherine Clark Kroeger. Refuge from Abuse: Healing and Hope for Abused Christian Women. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2004.


Abusive Men

Nason-Clark, Nancy, and Barbara Fisher-Townsend. Men Who Batter. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


Christian Leadership & Pastor Resources

LeRoux, Elisabet. “Men and Women in Partnership: Mobilizing Faith Communities to Address Gender-based Violence.” Diaconia  8, no. 1 (Apr 2017): 23-37.

Nason‐Clark, Nancy. “Clergy Referrals in Cases of Domestic Violence.” Family and Community Ministries 23, no. 4 (Winter- Spring 2010): 50-60.

Nason-Clark, Nancy, Catherine Clark Kroeger, and Barbara Fisher-Townsend, editors. Responding to Abuse in Christian Homes: A Challenge to Churches and their Leaders. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 2011.

Reed, Lou. “When Domestic Violence Knocks: It's All Too Common but Rarely Acknowledged. How to Minister Wisely and Well when It Shows up in your Congregation.” Leadership 30, no. 4 (Fall 2009): 74-78.

WeWillSpeakOut.US. Sacred Spaces. A Resource for Faith Communities to Prevent and Respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence. Available online

Tron, Claudia. “Challenges for the Life and Mission of the Churches: Our Lived Experience of Gender-based Violence.”  Reformed World 66, no. 2 (2016): 26-36.

Zust, Barbara L., Jaclyn Housley, and Anna Klatke. “Evangelical Christian Pastors’ Lived Experience of Counseling Victims/Survivors of Domestic Violence.”  Pastoral Psychology 66, no. 5 (Oct 2017): 675-687.


Theology & Preaching

Adams, Carol J., and Marie M. Fortune, editors. Violence against Women and Children: A Christian Theological Sourcebook. New York: Continuum, 1998.

Anderson, Kenton C.  “Preaching that Encourages Peace and Safety in the Christian Home.”, accessed April 2018.

Bussert, Joy M.K. Battered Women: From a Theology of Suffering to an Ethic of Empowerment. New York: Division for Mission in North America, Lutheran Church in America, 1986.

Cummings, Chloe. What Would Jesus Do about Domestic Violence and Abuse towards Christian Women?  A Biblical and Research-based Exploration for Church Leaders, Counselors, Church Members, and Victims. N.p.:, Inc., 2010.

Kroeger, Catherine Clark, and James R. Beck, editors. Women, Abuse, and the Bible: How Scripture Can Be Used to Hurt or to Heal. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1996.

McClure, John, and Nancy Ramsay, editors. Telling the Truth: Preaching About Sexual and Domestic Violence. Cleveland: United Church Press, 1998.


What Are We Missing?

Do you know of excellent resources on gender-based violence and the church you think we should include? Please share!