Although childhood abuse is internationally recognized as a major problem, there is a dearth of data concerning potentially protective resources, including religiosity…
Although childhood abuse is internationally recognized as a major problem, there is a dearth of data concerning potentially protective resources, including religiosity. While studies document religiosity’s positive association with general health outcomes, little is known about its relevance to abuse in childhood. A unique opportunity to explore the relationship is provided by a community-based study of religiously diverse, adult women within a single religious denomination, Judaism. A distinctive aspect of this research, which places women’s voices and experiences center stage, is the context within which it was conducted. Israel is a deeply gendered society dominated by two patriarchal institutions, the military and religious establishments.
Detailed telephone interviews with a large, demographically diverse sample assess a broad range of women’s health issues including childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Prevalence rates are compared for observance groups at opposite ends of the religiosity spectrum, rigorously devout ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) (n = 261) and nonreligious Secular Jews (n = 181).
Unexpectedly, no significant differences between observance groups are found for any childhood abuse (45%), physical abuse (24%), or emotional abuse (40%). Childhood sexual abuse has the lowest frequency (4.8%) of all abuse categories with more reported by Secular than Haredi respondents (7.7% vs. 3.1% p = .05).
This study addresses a critical research gap with empirical evidence from adult women within a single religious denomination. To enhance generalizability, replication with other denominations and the inclusion of males is warranted.
More religious involvement apparently does not mitigate the most prevalent forms of childhood maltreatment. These preliminary, yet persuasive findings warrant more policy and prevention efforts focused on childhood abuse in all families, religious as well as nonreligious.
Purpose and methodology – Many adult women struggle with serious eating problems (EPs) and obesity is increasing, yet, little is known about the origins of EPs, which often begin in childhood. Personal Narratives with 25 Israeli Jewish women in recovery from EPs explore (a) types of childhood experiences, (b) the connection between childhood experiences and subsequent EPs, and (c) why food!
Findings a.Analyses of personal narratives uncover a broad range of emotionally abusive experiences in childhood (CEA) including continuous criticism about body shape and weight, emotional neglect and abandonment, death or illness in the family in the absence of a nurturing adult, conflict and tension surrounding parental divorce or dysfunctional marriage, geographic dislocation, and aftermath of the Holocaust.b.Interviewees explicitly identified CEA as the cause of their turning to food for comfort in childhood and subsequently developing lifelong EPs.c.Why food! It was easily accessible, its sweetness took away the pain - temporarily, children replicated parents' unhealthy relationship with food, it was abundant and central in Jewish cultural, ethnic and religious traditions.
Research Implications – This research documents the critical contribution of emotionally abusive experiences in childhood to the development of EPs and confirms the need for additional research.
Practical Implications – The findings warrant a shift in policies and practices to address the role of emotional abuse in the development and maintenance of EPs. Moreover, policies focused on obesity, particularly among youth, need to recognize the contribution of CEA – in addition to poor dietary choices and lack of exercise.
Purpose and approach – This chapter by the editor introduces the authors, concepts, and themes that feature most prominently in the volume and relates the contributions to…
Purpose and approach – This chapter by the editor introduces the authors, concepts, and themes that feature most prominently in the volume and relates the contributions to one another and the current state of gender research.
Research implications – The chapter demonstrates how the principles, processes, and concepts of feminist research are currently being applied in a wide range of macro and micro social settings to advance gender research in directions that have implications for social policy and change.
Value of the chapter – This chapter serves to guide the reader through the volume calling attention to key findings and methodological issues.
Desiré J. M. Anastasia received her PhD in sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, in September 2008. Before attaining her doctoral degree, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Sciences: Law & Society from Michigan State University in East Lansing in December 1999, and her Master of Liberal Arts in Women's Studies from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti in August 2001. Her areas of specialization include sociology of the body, body modification, gender inequality, domestic violence and sexual assault, social control, deviance, feminist theory, and feminist research methods. She has taught Women's Studies courses at both Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and San Diego State University as well as Sociology courses at both Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and the University of San Diego. In addition to her sociological and phenomenological dissertation on extensively tattooed women, her research has included an analysis of theoretical perspectives on same-sex domestic violence as well as female violence against men, a statistical analysis of survivors of domestic violence in San Diego County, and content analyses of educational television programs on tattoos.
This introduction sets forth the main themes of Part B of the two-part volume, reviews the methods employed by the contributors, and demonstrates the relationships among…
This introduction sets forth the main themes of Part B of the two-part volume, reviews the methods employed by the contributors, and demonstrates the relationships among these chapters and those of Part A.
The chapters in the volume exemplify current research approaches to the subject matter: gender-based violence. The introduction identifies trends and themes.
Worldwide attention is being drawn to examples and forms of gender-based violence. These are currently major topics in the media, both factual and fictional. Public policies are under discussion and programs to deal with them are developing. However, because the discussions and the programs are often not research-based or intersectionally inclusive, gender-based violence persists and victims are sometimes ignored, blamed, or subjected to further violence.
The chapter serves as an overall introduction to the volume and the subject matter more generally.